Dancing and Sleep Deprivation
Posted March 26, 2012on:
Here’s a weird topic that might be of interest to other dancers. You know, as much as I love dancing, and no one loves it more than I do, there is this one little downside. I basically hate the effect dancing has on my sleep schedule. I’m sure a lot of dancers with “real jobs” can identify with this.
I never get home from a dance until at least midnight, if not three or four in the morning. And then when I get home, I can never just fall straight into bed and sleep; I’m too wired and I usually have to putter around for about an hour to unwind. So on dancing nights I’m getting to bed at anywhere from one to five a.m.
But I’m also one of those people who finds it impossible to sleep in. Even without an alarm clock, even with all the shades drawn and the house quiet, I just cannot sleep past about eight a.m. at the very latest. And sleeping in that late makes me feel like a slacker and more or less ruins my day anyway.
Lately, I’ve also gotten into this deal where even on the nights I don’t go out dancing, my sleep is messed up. Either I make myself get into bed early, and then lay there not sleeping – probably wishing I was out dancing – or I fall asleep straight away but wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep again. Then I just lay there worrying that I’m going to turn psychotic from sleep deprivation, and that if I do turn psychotic, people won’t want to dance with me anymore.
But recently I’ve been reading about something called biphasic sleep. Basically, it’s where your eight hours of sleep are divided into two four-hour chunks that are just as healthy. In one version, which you can read about here, you go to sleep at a normal time, wake up naturally in the middle of the night, stay up for an hour or so, and then go back to sleep until morning. Apparently that’s a very traditional way of sleeping – who knew?
The other way is described here, and in this version, you do part of your sleeping in the daytime and part of it at night, and according to some people, it’s still all good. If this is true, I could theoretically take a nice long nap on the days when I’m going out dancing that night, then sleep from, say, only two to seven a.m., and manage not to turn psychotic!
Anyway, I think the approach I’m going to try is a) I’m going to not stress out about it and b) I’m going to do as much napping as I can. And if anyone has advice for me about how to make dancing fit in with a normal schedule, I’d love to hear it!