Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep every night and that sleep should take place on a regular schedule. There are numerous benefits from doing this! You don’t get sick as often and have a lower risk for serious health problems. Your stress level is reduced and your mood is better. You can think more clearly and make better decisions. You get along better with other people.
Interested in getting better sleep? Here are a few things to think about:
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
- Turn off all screens for an hour before going to bed
- Don’t eat a big meal close to bedtime
- Exercise earlier in the day (not right before bed)
- Go to bed at the same time each night
It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise – anything that increases your heart rate. In addition, adults should do at least two muscle-strengthening activities each week.
Examples of aerobic exercise: fast walking, running, swimming, cycling, dancing, playing sports, etc.
The Benefits of Exercise
- Helps control blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight
- Lowers “bad” cholesterol, and can help prevent heart disease and other serious illnesses.
- Can elevate your mood, help you sleep better, lower your chances for depression, and increase your self image.
- Makes your bones, muscles, and joints healthier.
- Regular exercise will actually give you more energy, which helps you be more productive throughout the day.
- After exercising you are likely to feel a sense of accomplishment, which will help boost your mood.
Still not convinced? Check out some of these resources about how exercise can specifically help musicians.
- The Impact of Exercise and Physical Fitness on Performance Under Pressure, by Noa Kagemaya, Ph.D.
- Physical Fitness for Brass Players, by James Boldin
- Fitness in Marching Band: 100 Pounds Lighter, by Andrew Moran
Just like getting enough sleep and exercise, proper nutrition is key in keeping you healthy. Eating healthy helps you manage weight and reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some types of cancer.
Proper nutrition comes from eating a healthy balance of foods:
Specifically, aim for a balance of these foods:
- Whole Grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy
- A variety of proteins
Limit sodium, added sugar, saturated fats, and refined grains and starches.
What can this look like for music teachers?
- Prepare meals in advance. Use the weekend to cook large batches to eat throughout the week. Invest in a slow cooker which is great for preparing quick yet healthy meals.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand – cut vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, granola bars (with limited added sugar), cheese sticks, etc.
- Eat a good breakfast – ideally something protein-heavy
- Avoid drinking excess calories. Stay away from beverages containing added sugar. Water is your best bet!
Eat lunch during the school day! Your body needs the nutrients, and it makes you less likely to over-indulge on snacks later. Not to mention, taking the time to eat a meal is also good for your mental well-being!
Here is some information about nutrition, including some specific to musicians:
Eating Right for the Best Musical Performance, by Gary Wishmeyer
Water is one of the body’s six essential nutrients. Drinking water helps energize muscles, maintain a balance in body fluid, control calories and more. Even mild dehydration (not having enough fluids) can cause side-effects that will impact a music teacher’s work, including daytime fatigue, problems with memory and focus, and headaches. Being sure to drink enough water throughout the day is one easy way to take care of your body.
Singers should take extra care to get enough water, since it can directly affect their instrument! Mucus protects the vocal chords. Not drinking enough water causes a lack of mucus. The vocal chords can become damaged if they are too dry.
Tips for music teachers to drink more water throughout the day:
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
- Drink a glass of water with each meal.
- If water tastes too boring for you, try infusing it with fruit. Even a lemon slice can help, and some water bottles have infusers built in.
- Set a reminder on your phone to drink more water, use sticky notes, or consider other habit tracking and accountability tools
There are many different guidelines on how much water is the appropriate amount. Some say you should drink eight 8-ounce glass of water each day. Others recommend 130 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women. It really varies by many factors: weight, climate, exercise, elevation, etc.
Further reading about hydration for music teachers:
- Cranky, Tired, and Not in the Mood to Practice? by Noa Kageyama, The Bulletproof Musician
- Staying Hydrated, St. Olaf College