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The Importance of Sleep for Actors

Lianna Nielsen teaches Nutrition Class for Actors at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York. In this blog and video Lianna talks about the importance of quality sleep and how losing sleep can affect an actor.

Sleep is one of the most undervalued things in our society today which is really unfortunate because it’s as important to our health as exercise and eating healthy foods. As actors and performers, our bodies are our businesses so it’s even more important to us. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to things like insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease. Even just losing a few hours of sleep every week makes it harder to remember, harder to focus. It compromises our immune system so we get sick more often and then it lands us to feeling more stressed, more sad, more depressed, more anxious.

Imagine you’re someone who gets nervous going into auditions any way or tends to have stage fright. Not sleeping enough before an audition or a performance is going to make you that much more nervous and anxious, that much more in focus and will give you a lot of problems in remembering your lines which is not a good thing at all. I think there are all these ideas out there about actors where you just work really hard and you sleep when you’re dead, and so many poor actors work late night jobs. They bartend, they waitress, and they don’t take the care of their bodies that they need to.


“Your body is your business. The better off you treat it, the better off you're going to be and the more successful you're going to be.”

Lianna NielsenStudio Nutritionist

Not only do we need sleep but we need good quality sleep. We need to be dreaming. The cool thing about our dreams — they’re referred to sometimes as our brain belly. It’s where we digest what’s happening in our lives emotionally and really making sense of everything. It also allows us to solidify memories and reduce stress. That’s incredibly important. So many people drink a lot or drink every night. Even going to bed having one or two glasses of wine is going to disrupt the amount of sleep that you have. That’s no good.

nutrition classes for actors - Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

Nutrition Classes for Actors – Maggie Flanigan (917) 794-3878

Even taking things like anti-depressants or pills, anything chronically that’s going to be disrupting your microbiome and your digestive system, that’s going to also disrupt your sleep. You’re not going to get a good quality sleep and that’s going to compromise your creativity. This business is hard enough. If you can do something as little as sleeping a few extra hours a night or a week, it can turn things around from you feeling more depressed and more anxious all the time to being more optimistic and positive. You really need to be a self-starter. Your body is your business, you’re your business. The better off you treat it, the better off you’re going to be and the more successful you’re going to be.

To learn more about the acting classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio, and the Nutrition for Actors classes that Lianna teaches at the studio, contact the studio directly by calling (917) 794-3878.

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