Because a bad sleep schedule is every dancer's worst nightmare. (Hugnoi/Getty Images)

Dancers, Here's How to Get Your Sleep Schedule Back on Track

While taking all those #SocialDisDancing Zoom classes at home certainly helped keep your technique up to par, the relaxation of your daily schedule—no need to wake up early to catch a bus!—may have messed with your sleep cycle. Finding it harder than usual to get up for that Saturday morning rehearsal? Here's how to make your circadian rhythm dance to the right beat.


Cue the Sunshine, and Cut the Lights

According to the National Sleep Foundation, blue light, like the kind emitted from both the sun and all your electronic devices, has a huge effect on your natural sleep and wake cycles. That's because exposure to blue light delays your body's release of the sleep- inducing hormone melatonin. In the morning, take advantage of blue light's effect: As soon as you wake up, sit somewhere sunny indoors or go for a quick stroll outside. At night, decrease your exposure as much as possible. Using the "night-mode" setting on your devices or wearing blue-light–filtering glasses can help. But the most foolproof method is to limit all screen time at least 30 minutes before bed.

Get Your Sweat on Before Supper

Studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise during the day can help you sleep better. Most people should avoid strenuous exercise late at night, but if you can't move that 8 pm jazz class, don't sweat it. Just make sure to give yourself some screen-free time to wind down afterwards. And if you're hungry, go for something light and nutritious. Eating a heavy meal right before bed is likely to keep you awake as your body digests.

Consistency is Key

Set up morning and night routines and stick to them—even on weekends. These daily rituals signal to your body that it's time to wake up or prepare to sleep. If you're looking to shift your bedtime or morning alarm, the National Sleep Foundation recommends you do so in 15-minute increments. If you're struggling to make it through a long day, it's OK to squeeze in a nap, but try to limit it to 30 minutes or less.

Control Your Cave

Your bedroom environment plays a major role in the quality of your sleep. Whether it's morning or night, avoid doing homework, watching TV, or scrolling on your phone while you're in bed, and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and free of distractions.

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Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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