After two weeks of very busy days and busier performance evenings, I find myself at home early on a Saturday afternoon with a steak dinner for a friend's birthday in my very near future--very different nighttime plans from my regular schedule of late, which have either been involving Napoli or Svanesøen. This is wonderful. I had a chance to take a much-needed sauna after rehearsal today. I have an opportunity to catch up on my current outside interests--Grey's Anatomy, digging out my corns, and snacking. But perhaps best of all, free time lets me stock up on something I am severely lacking: sleep.
Sleeping should be easy: we get tired, we lay down, we fall into dreamland. I am usually a very skilled sleeper. If there were Sleeping Olympics, I am fairly certain I would win, or at the very least make the podium. But getting back into the season, and the performance schedule, and the art of the daily afternoon nap, I have found that my ability to catch zzz's grows increasingly rusty. After a performance, I'm tired. Happy, but tired--my body is always ready to go straight home to bed. My brain, though, and energy levels take a little bit longer to calm down. Sleep is necessary, not just for my personal physical performance, but also for my colleagues. Because I am not a nice person if I don't have two things: (1) large amounts of strong, black coffee in my system; and (2) rest. I wouldn't be friends with cranky, decaffeinated me. So. The key is to find ways to induce sleepiness after a performance.
For me, this involves a combination of things. I always have a snack and a bottle of water after a performance--usually toast with peanut butter or a banana. Also, always always chocolate milk. I put on pajamas, and big fuzzy slippers, and whether I feel tired enough to sleep or not, I go into bed. Despite my dad's warnings about "media stimulation," I'll spend time on Facebook, I'll sew (more!) pointe shoes, I'll watch (more!) Grey's Anatomy, I'll read. And some nights--like the past few--none of these things work. Then I lay in bed, wide awake, until far too late; or sometimes I'll doze off but have an interrupting, indescribably bizarre dream, like one I had this week involving surgery on a 500-lb. chicken carcass, with cameos by my father and Rogers & Hart...anyway. I digress. More often than not, eventually the endorphins and adrenaline fade away, and I get to experience possibly the best feeling at the end of a long day: the feeling of doing absolutely, wonderfully, physically nothing.