A man sleeps and rests his voice

Being a singer can mean a lot of late nights and early mornings of performances and practicing. But if you are not getting enough sleep, you could make yourself susceptible to voice injury or impede healing a vocal injury.

Why is sleep important?

Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but only about a third of us get the sleep we need. Like the rest of your body, your voice needs rest. Sleep is involved in repairing your body. Not only is it involved in healing your heart and blood vessels and helping your immune system fight foreign bodies, it also releases a hormone that boosts muscle mass and repairs cells.

What if I don’t sleep enough?

CEENTA Voice & Swallowing Specialist Lori Ellen Sutton, MA, CCC-SLP

A lack of sleep can affect your voice in a number of ways. If you are exhausted you won’t have the energy to breathe properly while using your voice without straining it, which can cause vocal fatigue, CEENTA Voice & Swallowing Specialist Lori Ellen Sutton, MA, CCC-SLP, said. Also, you won’t have the energy to think about how you’re using your voice or take care of it during the day. Finally, tired people tend to drink more caffeine, which can dehydrate you and cause mucus buildup on the vocal folds.

If you sing while your voice is tired, you can develop hoarseness. Hoarseness is a condition when your voice sounds breathy, raspy, or strained. It is a symptom of a condition, not a condition itself. Laryngitis, an inflammation of the vocal cords due to illness, is the most common cause of hoarseness. However, vocal fold lesions such as nodules, polyps, and cysts can also develop on the vocal cords. They can be caused when you strain to talk or sing.

It’s important to remember that raspy voices are not natural. If your voice is regularly hoarse, it is a sign that your vocal cords are being overworked.

What can I do to get more rest?

Many people would like to sleep more at night, but have trouble falling asleep. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to solve that problem:

  • Set a bedtime routing involving light reading, listening to calming music, or something else relaxing.
  • Avoid too much light stimulation, particularly from tablets, cell phones, laptops, and e-readers. Turn them off 60-90 minutes before bed.
  • Don’t drink more than 16 ounces of caffeine a day, and stop drinking it at least six hours before bed.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise 5-6 hours before bed.
  • Make mornings bright by turning on lights or opening the shades, which will help make you awake and alert in the morning.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed.
  • Avoid nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime.

Heavy meals, alcohol, and nicotine can also contribute to acid reflux, which can also affect the voice.

Also, if your voice is fatigued, it’s important to not just get more sleep, but to rest it during the day. In an eight-hour day, schedule several 15-minute periods where you don’t talk.

Any hoarseness that does not resolve itself in 2-3 weeks should be evaluated by an ENT doctor, preferably someone who specializes in voice care.

Your voice is just as important as the rest of your body, and making sure you get enough sleep will help ensure it stays as rested and healthy as the rest of you.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with one of CEENTA’s doctors, call 704-295-3000.


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April 01, 2021

i really appreciate your work. You give me really good information. Thanks
- Johnny die

July 06, 2020

It like clock work whenever I feel overworked and tired my eyes feel like there is sand in them and I get the hoarse voice. My neck also feels a little;e swollen and I get the feeling like there is post nasal drip way behind in my throat. If I were to pull an all nighter I would get the headaches added to all these symptoms. Yeah, it a hella confusion going on !
- Lee Ang

August 27, 2019

Maria I’ve been going through the same thing. Did you ever find anything out?
- Holly

April 29, 2019

I've had a hoarse voice since February and it's almost May now.I've seen a Doctor she did say I have allergies and it could be acid reflux too. It's scary because I've had a hoarse voice before but not for a few months. I use nasal spray and take Clartin but it just helps a little. I get fed up because by voice sounds clear for a little while then i get hoarse again. I know allergy gets worse every year but it worries me at times. My Dr will probably send me to a specialist if my voice doesn't get better by July. So I'm hoping my voice will get better for good!!
- Maria

January 01, 2019

Every time I pull out an all nighter my voice gets really hoarse. Now I know why. This is very helpful and informatuve. thank you
- Joana

August 15, 2018

Very informative. Very nice
- Ranjan Kumar jha

August 15, 2018

Thank you very much.
Reply From: CEENTA

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