THIS FAT OLD LADY’S THEATER TUESDAY – WHY THEATER PEOPLE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS SLEEP DEPRIVED

Most theater people are “night owls”.

We have to be. 

We are performing in shows that usually finish up around 11 pm or later; after which we have to wipe the makeup off, hang up our costumes, get dressed, pack up our personal items and head home – or head out for some breakfast or drinks or whatever with fellow theater people.

When you are coming off of the adrenaline high of performing, it takes a while to unwind.  There is no point in jumping into bed (unless you have plans that don’t include sleep) – because your mind is going a million miles an hour. There is no way you are going to fall asleep. 

Even if you go right home, you are going to either keep your partner awake while you talk and talk (and talk – theater people are a chatty bunch); or you are going to sit down in front of the computer or the TV or find some other way to occupy your brain until it finally slows down to where sleep is possible.

If you are a professional performer, you may be able to sleep in; but most performers are not at a level where they can sleep in – we have “real” jobs or classes or other responsibilities that require us to be up and functioning during the hours other people consider normal.  Even if you are professional, you may have meetings, rehearsals, interviews, etc. 

And professional or not, you have to get your ass up and start warming up your voice (and body, if you’re a dancer) hours before you step back onto the stage. 

There have been lots of studies about how having an unusual schedule can screw you up. 

And the thing is, we always are on a “show schedule” – whether there’s a show or not. It’s just how we are made.

Please, don’t mistake us for insomniacs.

We are theater people and we are simply (and mostly) sleep deprived.

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