Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit


Home » Resources » Health » Musicians and Insomnia, What’s Keeping You Up?

Musicians and Insomnia, What’s Keeping You Up?


Sleep can affect every aspect of a musician’s performance, yet the lifestyle of professional musicians often leaves them prone to insomnia, both acute and chronic. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Insomnia Research Center, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying a sleep. Acute insomnia is brief, often due to a temporary circumstance, and usually resolves on its own. Chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that roughly 30% of the general population suffers from sleep disruption. According to the American Psychological Association, most healthy adults do best with 16 hours of wakefulness and an average of eight hours of sleep per night. However, individual needs can vary from requiring as little as six to up to 10 hours of sleep per night. Sleep requirements do not decline with age, though the ability to sleep soundly may.

Sleep experts cite stress as the number one cause of acute sleep problems. You’re worried about an upcoming gig, which causes you not to be able to sleep, and pretty soon you are also worried about not getting enough sleep. In this way, anxiety and insomnia exacerbate each other. Yoga, meditation, and other mind-body relaxation techniques can often help you cope.

Travel, especially when you cross time zones, can upset your biological (circadian) rhythms. Compound that with being in a strange place, and you have a recipe for exhaustion. Environmental factors like a room that’s too cold or hot, noisy, or bright, may be beyond your control on the road.

Inadequate sleep will reduce your musical abilities, overall wellbeing, and quality of life. Numerous studies have proven that inadequate sleep can cause reduced cognitive functions, such as those needed for effective concentration and decision making. It can affect your irritability, patience, and ability to get along with others.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) falling asleep while driving is responsible for at least 100,000 crashes every year in the US. Additionally, lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and infertility, and can even affect your aging.

Tips for Better Sleep:

1) Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. This may mean gradually easing into a new schedule when you know yours is about to change, like before a tour begins.

2) Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Aside from avoiding caffeinated beverages and chocolate, read the labels of any medications you are taking. Anything that’s labeled “Does not cause drowsiness” may contain some type of stimulant. Also, both alcohol and nicotine can disrupt sleep patterns.

3) Get regular exercise. Have a daily exercise routine of at least 30 minutes and try to not do it within three hours of bedtime.

4) BYO pillow on the road. Also, bring along earplugs, a small electrical fan, and a blindfold to minimize environmental problems.

5) Unwind before bed. Create a relaxing ritual to calm your body and mind before trying to sleep.

6) Don’t toss and turn. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something else until you feel sleepy again.

7) Avoid the alarm. One way to help ensure you are getting enough sleep is to wake up naturally, without an alarm.

8) Let the sun shine in. When it is time to get up, exposure to sunlight will help your body reset its biological clock.

9) Limit naps. While napping may help some people catch up on sleep, for others it makes it more difficult to sleep at night.

10) Seek help. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, don’t be shy about looking for help. According to the NSF there are more than 80 known sleep problems or disorders you could be suffering from. To find a sleep professional in the US or Canada visit the website:

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