We all have days when we drag ourselves out of bed and seem to sleepwalk through the day. I am no longer able to pull “all-nighters” common in my college days, though having children has been a long-term commitment to sleep deprivation! I know very well what my “tired voice” feels like: It is rough, breathy and quiet. I don’t breathe as deeply or project my sound.
Researchers have been looking into the effects of fatigue on voice and speech in an interesting study. Read an article about this study or view the abstract from the scholarly publication. Participants were required to stay awake for 24 hours and were periodically recorded completing speech tasks such as counting, reading, and sustaining vowels. The researchers measured speech rate, pause length, data relating to variation in quality, and other speech and voice elements. They found that as time went on, the participants’ speech rates slowed, pauses got longer, and quality variation increased. An explanation offered by one of the researchers, Dr. Adam Vogel, is that we lose control of speech and voice muscles as we become more tired.
If today is one of those days for you, a great way to warm-up your voice is with the lip trill. Also called the “raspberry”, the lip trill takes the pressure off of your vocal folds and allows you to efficiently connect your breath to your sound while exploring pitch freely. I have a client who has always hated her voice, especially in the morning. It used to take her several hours to “wake up” vocally. This exercise helps her quickly and gently wake her “morning voice”. What works for you?
Acoustic analysis of the effects of sustained wakefulness on speech
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 128, 3747 (2010)