Lights, Camera…Sleep!

Tab forward to a studio set, and you will see some very active actors.

“We think a lot. Our minds are constantly preparing, and we need to be able to perform at our prime—almost all the time, then on top of this, we must look beautiful,” delivers Xavier Tournaud, in his French-American accent—he looks like a James Bond. “We have an unpredictable work schedule.”

So, what’s the secret to his being gorgeous and being alert? Maybe a start is with sleeping well. I know he eats well, works out, and has the best environment as a motivator to stay healthy—Hollywood! As a result, he looks like a million bucks.

When the workday begins at 6:00AM and ends at midnight, standing by and waiting, then on location and shooting with intensity, these actors really earn their income. They are also vulnerable to the irritations and have to be ready so that the lack of sleep doesn’t affect their response time and memorization capability. Top performance is the only option.

Time management becomes number one. Struggling with sleep under great episodes of stress and shift work issues has no place for experienced actors. How then can an individual be best prepared for a good night’s sleep during these crazy schedules? According to most Hollywood actors, the answer is: by staying in top health (having a healthy diet) and top physical shape (through exercise).

In a recent article published in the August Human Factors journal, Dr. Baranski et al. examined the effects of 30 hours of sleep loss and the continuous work, and the effect on work performance as it relates to team decision-making. Sleep loss has an antagonistic effect on the team’s decision-making ability and decision time. As a result, operations on a film set may be effected by sleepy tendencies and fatigue—as film environments are collaborative.

Overnight work duties that may be impaired by sleep deprivation may also cause changes in behavior and attitude. Therefore, employers need to provide some motivational efforts to keep their staff happy at these stressful time periods.

Here are some healthy “Hollywood” sleep solutions:

Eat healthy!

Exercise and set an exercise routine.

Consider taking special naps during the afternoon (from 2:00PM to 4:00PM is the best recommended time to avoid interference with night-time sleep). Limit naps to only a couple hours.

Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods at least two to three hours before sleep.

To initiate sleep, consider taking a natural “on-cue” sleep supplement that contains an effective dose (0.3mg to 3.0mg) of melatonin. This will help set the sleep-wake cycle. Take this one hour prior to going to bed.

To relax, consider your sleep “environment,” make sure you have a clean, uncluttered bedroom, soft sheets, just right temperature in the room, and pleasant smells.

Behavioral modification with positive reinforcements and relaxation techniques can also help.

Antioxidants at night are also important to look your best and fend off free radicals.

Breathe! Be comfortable with who you are, and what you are doing. This is an exciting time, and you can accomplish your tasks. Thoughtful breathing can help. Breathing exercises can also help with anxiety or stage fright.

Avoid scary movies before bed.

So, the next time you hear, “Lights, Camera, Action!” you’ll be ready and alert.

Sleep tight,

Dr. Nikos

Nikos Linardakis, M.D. is a physician executive based in Salt Lake City, and is the author of the forthcoming book, Ten Natural Ways to a Good Night’s Sleep. Visit Also, visit (photographer to the Stars), and (actor) for related article content.