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Backstage Experts

5 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before an Audition

5 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before an Audition

We’ve all been there. Tomorrow is the big audition, and you’ve been preparing (and possibly obsessing) for days on end. It’s time to go to bed, and your brain is racing. You know that what you need most is rest, but your body refuses to cooperate. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to relax your mind, so you can sleep deeply and wake up refreshed and ready to book a job.

1. Turn the lights down. Certain spectrums of bright light can be the enemy of sleep. Most CFL light bulbs have a lot of blue light, which mimics daylight. At night, this is the wrong signal for your eyes (and your brain). Consider using an old school incandescent bulb in your bedroom; incandescents have more red light, which promotes restfulness. 

2. Filter your electronics. The biggest offenders in the blue light department are our electronic devices. Laptops, iPads, phones, etc., are all designed to keep you alert, and so they pump out the kind of light that keeps you wired. I believe everyone should use f.lux. It’s free software that mirrors the day/night cycle by increasing the red light on your displays when the sun goes down. You just enter your location, and f.lux does the rest, automatically adjusting to daily sunrise/sunset schedule for that time of year. It’s available for any Mac or Windows laptop, and for Android phones. Irritatingly, it doesn’t work on the iPhone or iPad unless you jailbreak your device. Instead, I recommend using the “low light” filter on iOS devices; just tap the screen with three fingers three times, and then choose the low light filter. For Web browsing on iOS devices, you can use a f.lux-like app called Koala.

3. Make a sleep drink. If you’re trying to wind down for the night, consider making a “sleep drink.” With a hand blender, mix eight ounces of whole milk, one teaspoon of raw honey, and a pinch of salt, which you can then sip slowly a half-hour before bed. The sugar, calcium, and salt lower stress hormones, and puts your body into a state of relaxation. If you’re not a milk fan, you can do eight ounces of orange juice, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of gelatin (I use Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate gelatin, which is specially formulated to dissolve in any liquid without thickening it). If you’d rather eat something, another option would be a salty cheese (like Parmigiano-Reggiano) and a piece of fruit.

4. Warm up your hands and feet. Warm extremities are a part of deep sleep. If your feet tend to be cold, put on a pair of socks before bed. Rubbing your hands for warmth and keeping them under the covers is also a good idea. Doing a few circles with your ankles and your wrists right before bed helps to increase blood flow to these areas as well.

5. Take some magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that calms the body and allows it to relax. You can increase your magnesium at night with a supplement (I like the Calm brand) or with a warm Epsom salt bath. 

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Andrew Byrne is a voice teacher and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Byrne’s full bio!

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