Your Alarm Clock Could Actually Be Hurting Your Dancing

Perfectionist, type-A dancers often try to squeeze a million things into their days, waking up early to cross-train or staying up late to finish one more side project.

But the next time you're tempted to skimp on your slumber, consider this: The longer you sleep, the more benefits you get from it. With each sleep cycle, your body spends more time in that deep, restorative REM stage, and releases another hit of testosterone and human growth hormone, both of which facilitate physical repair.

Still not convinced? A 2011 study at Stanford University found that when its basketball players aimed for at least 10 hours of sleep a night, they sprinted 4 percent faster, shot free throws and 3-pointers with about 9 percent more accuracy, and showed better reaction times. When the researchers replicated the experiment with collegiate swimmers and football and tennis players, they again saw significantly improved times.

So it's probably safe to assume that a couple extra hours in bed could also help your dancing. Set aside extra time in bed during performance season, whether that means waking up as late as you can, or hitting the sheets early instead of staying up to scroll through Instagram again.

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Christine Flores performing with Pam Tanowitz Dance. Photo by Whitney Browne, Courtesy Flores

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