Importance of sleep for actors – Is lack of sleep holding you back?

Quality sleep

Getting a good amount of quality sleep is absolutely essential for actors, yet a lot of actors suffer from lack of sleep.

A lot of you work multiple jobs to supplement your acting career – which means working long hours.

It’s not always easy to get enough sleep when you can’t predict your hours at work and last-minute auditions.

This does not mean quality sleep is unachievable for actors.

Despite the irregular nature of the acting industry giving priority to getting adequate sleep as regularly as possible can boost your acting performance and give you a competitive edge.

Why is quality sleep important for actors?


quality sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of parts of the brain

Getting quality sleep has a lot of important benefits and one of them is solidifying and merging memories.

Our brain processes a staggering amount of information in a single day. All the data, social interactions, and experiences that we are bombarded with are synthesized and transformed into memory during sleep.

Through a method known as consolidation, our mind transfers information from the temporary short-term memory to our long-term memory while we are sleeping. Memory consolidation plays a vital role in learning new information.

As an actor, sleep is super important.

Not getting enough can make you struggle with your performance; You might be nervous or find it difficult to remember your lines when you go in for an audition.

Quality sleep is what provides the most profound way to increase your resilience and ability to focus.

One study conducted by Harvard University demonstrates that sleeping for only 5 hours can negatively impact our mind’s capacity to retain essential information.

Lack of sleep can also decrease your memory retention which results in things like being unable to find your house keys or forgetting an appointment. In a lot of cases, the effects of insufficient sleep also affect your attention span and reaction time.

quality sleep is vital for the function of different parts of the brain

The negative effects of sleep deprivation

According to another study done on sleep deprivation, findings showed that lack of sleep adversely affects some areas of brain activity which are similar to the negative effects of being drunk.

Lack of quality sleep and sleeping disorders are highly connected to mental health disorders like depression.

About 90% of people that suffer from depression have said that they don’t get quality sleep.

That’s why, In a high-stress career like acting – which is full of rejection, instability, and fierce competition, getting quality sleep is absolutely critical for actors.

You might not feel the effects right now but in the near future, you will definitely experience them.

Sleep improves your immune function

Skeletal structure of a human  stopping virus from approaching

Hormones regulate different biological processes in our bodies. Some regulate our sleep cycles and others are responsible for the proper functioning of our immune system.

Lack of sleep especially over a prolonged time can drastically weaken our body’s ability to fight diseases.

If you regularly get the cold or get sick easily getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep will help you recover quickly.

Actors especially cannot afford to be sick because of the sporadic nature of the work. So, never underestimate the importance of sleep and try your best to get enough of it each night. It’ll keep you feeling fresh and ready for whatever opportunity comes your way.

If you are on a project where you are spending 14-16 hours every day and you can’t really get the amount and quality of sleep that you need, make sure you make up for it.

If you have the time, you can take a nap during the day. If not, sleeping on your night off isn’t a bad idea.

Sleep affects emotions and social interactions

If you’re feeling overweight, groggy, or are suffering from sleep disorder, it’s hard to remember that your emotional wellbeing is just as important as your physical health.

Poor sleep has a detrimental effect on a person’s behavior. You will usually be short-tempered, groggy, and in a bad mood, which will hinder your daily activities and performance.

Furthermore, if you are not getting enough sleep your social life and interactions will definitely suffer.

Several studies that used emotional facial analysis tests have proven that not getting enough sleep made it difficult for people to read social cues and handle emotional information.

Unlike other professions, actors have to be highly tuned in emotionally when they are performing.

So, by getting quality sleep on a consistent basis you can use sleep as a secret weapon to achieve peak performances regularly.

Reasons we have emotions

How to get quality sleep

  • Set a fixed time for going to bed and waking up. Try your best to follow this schedule including days off of work and holidays.
  • Staying up and sleeping in late on holidays and on your days off will mess up your body’s sleep cycle.
  • Exercise regularly but don’t do any hard or exhausting exercises close to your bedtime.
  • Shut down your tv, computer, and phone at least an hour before bed. Try to relax by reading a book, meditating or just enjoying quiet time.
  • If stimulants like coffee, tea, and sodas give you trouble sleeping, avoid them.
  • Create an ideal and cozy environment for sleeping by keeping your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark.
  • Try to wake up without relying on your alarm clock. Waking up at the same time on a regular basis without using an alarm clock is a great indicator that you are getting an adequate amount and quality of sleep.
  • Do your best to get enough sleep on a regular basis whatever that number may be for you. It’s normal for people’s sleep requirements to vary but most experts say that adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. The last thing you want to do is indulge in a meal before bed. Eating too much, or having an overly-rich meal can make you feel uncomfortable, and keep you awake for longer too.

Do successful actors and tv hosts get quality sleep?

Rossie O’ Donnell

Rossie said on The View in 2006 that after years of loud snoring, she was diagnosed with sleep apnea. She stopped breathing during her sleep for as long as 200 times and sometimes, she would stop breathing for 40 seconds or more.

Oprah Winfrey

In the article with Fast Company in 2015, Oprah claims she functions well on about 5.5 hours of sleep a day.

However, if she sleeps less than that then her energy level drops, and she loses focus easily.

She wakes up regularly between 7-7:30 am and she doesn’t use alarm clocks.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer said she struggles to sleep sometimes. Although there are a couple of things she does when she gets up at night:

Her first tip is to keep your phone at least five feet away from you when yousleeps. She also meditates or does yoga for a short time before bed.

Jennifer Lopez

Quality sleep is a priority for Jennifer.

She says eight hours of sleep is the secret weapon for a sustained beauty like hers and through performance.

Heath Ledger

Heath died at the age of 28.

Sleeping pills and other medications were linked to his death.

Heath only slept for two hours a night when he was stressed out at work.


It seems like it’s become more difficult for people to get quality sleep in recent years, but that’s just because they’re not making the right adjustments to their lifestyles.

A lot of actors have a tough time sleeping because of the irregular hours they work, the second job they have, and other reasons.

Without enough sleep, you will often find yourself feeling tired and unfocused, which can have a negative effect on your work.

But, by practicing getting regular quality sleep on a consistent basis you can use sleep as a secret weapon to achieve peak performances throughout your career.

Which sleep tips or facts did you find most helpful? , Leave a comment below

Scroll to Top