Friday, December 9, 2011


The joy of the holiday season is frequently accompanied by susceptibility to illness: the sniffles, coughing, or even the flu. Regardless of season, one of the responsibilities of being an opera singer is to avoid sickness at all times. Being sick can put a singer out of commission for weeks at a time, taking them away from performing and earning money. The majority of dedicated singers are probably the healthiest people you will ever meet. Especially as the weather continues to cool, take these few simple trick singers rely on so you feel your best and can face this blustery season!

SLEEP: What a concept!

We all know the recommended number of hours sleep an adult should get is about 6-8 hours per night to ensure we are fully rested for the day ahead. Unfortunately, many people are not able to achieve this. Sleep is not only crucial feeling energized, but keeps the on a cycle. For example, if you have work or a big assignment to finish, it is more effective to go to sleep at a reasonable hour and wake up earlier, maintaining the body’s stable cycle. Singers value sleep above everything else; because our body is our instrument, it needs the main source of revitalization that sleeping brings. Try going to sleep 30 minutes earlier this season--the perfect pillow and a heavy down blanket should make that easy!

Also, if you are easily affected by winter dryness, invest in a humidifier. Singers use them year round to keep their throats moist and to avoid sore throats caused by the dryness in the air (and they are relatively cheap -- check CVS or Target!) Turn it on before you go to sleep and you will wake up feeling fresh!

VITAMIN C: The Godsend

Many people get sick during the winter months simply because of a weak immune system, which is why I recommend everyone try The Godsend, also known as Vitamin C, into their daily vitamin supplements, especially in the winter. Vitamin C is a proven, safe method to significantly boost your immune system (and also has great skin benefits). It can be found in fruits and vegetables like oranges, cantaloupe, broccoli and peppers, but there are also supplemental Vitamin C products on the market; one of which is my personal favorite, Emergen-C. These individual powder packets each contain 1,000mg of C (the recommended safe dose is between 500-2,000mg per day) and you can mix the wide array of flavors into your favorite drink. Before auditions, many singers chug Emergen-C, to ensure their health. By taking any Vitamin C supplement, colds become less frequent. It is an easy addition to an everyday routine! I also recommend Airborne. This is an easy supplement to put into a drink, and works well when you feel the start of cold symptoms. It can help decrease the time of a cold by a few days if taken consistently.

As always, follow product directions or the recommendation of your doctor.

Here are few more tips to keep you healthy this winter!

-          Drink at least 8 cups of water per day (for every cup of coffee you drink, make sure to drink one glass of water)
-          Don’t share drinks
-          Stretching or yoga (increases circulation for the blustery weather and also is a great mental and physical stress reliever)
-          Keep your body at a comfortable temperature (dress warmly!)
-          Focus on eating foods rich in protein and fiber

Being sick during the sometimes dreary and bitter cold winter is never fun. Think like a singer, and treat your body like a beautiful instrument to keep yourself healthy so you can make it to spring!

--Melanie Burbules, Boston University '14

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