A recent study on singers demonstrated that a diagnosis of a voice disorder can lead to depression and anxiety. One third of the singers in this study became depressed and anxious because of the damage done to their voices and the resulting threat to their livelihoods. Stress, depression, and anxiety certainly impact our ability to sleep and yet we also know that rest, that SLEEP, helps to heal the voice.
Brian Ogilvie was an operatically-trained classmate of mine at Northwestern who is now living his best life as a doting father and badass performer on the BroadWAY. At the time, I was in the theatre program but was already one of those people who just seemed to lose my voice a lot [LIFE HACK- this is when you should see an ENT]. Brian told me that it was common knowledge among opera singers that, when experiencing voice problems, you should “have a day of vocal rest then sleep 9 hours, and you’ll feel like a million bucks.” [How many of you have heard this 9 hour number? Anybody else? Because it works.]
But when you’re losing your voice, how do you sleep? Or stay asleep? Or get back to sleep?
There are a lot of meditations specifically for singers. Here’s one I liked:
Feel free to repeat the affirmations in your head, especially if you are on vocal rest.
Though I have to say, sometimes not thinking about singing is good, too. Here are a few of my other favorite sleep hypnoses:
This first one is five meditations edited into one 3 hour piece. It starts with floating into outer space.
This one is a female voice who distracts you with stories:
This one is a male voice with white noise:
...And this one takes you to a tropical island, with robots and vegetarian food:
However you get back to sleep, keep trying. There are a million other videos out there you can try (I mean, literally). Just be sure to turn off autoplay so you don’t wake up to, like, a GoDaddy commercial as soon as you drift off to sleep. #themoreyouknow #speakingfromexperience
What helps you get to sleep when you’re feeling anxious?
*If your sleep challenges are prolonged, you may be facing more than just anxiety-- menopause or sleep apnea are factors to consider, to name a few. Talk to your doctor if your sleep problems continue.
S. Misono, C.B. Peterson, L. Meredith, K. Banks, D. Bandyopadhyay, B. Yueh, P. Frazier, Psychosocial distress in patients presenting with voice concerns, J Voice 28 (2014) 753–761. doi: 10.1016%2Fj.jvoice.2014.02.010