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Calling all tired brides: Skipping pre-wedding slumber isn't just affecting your morning routine. "Sleep affects the way you look, feel and react," says sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus. He adds that little sleep and a short fuse can lead to trouble when dealing with bridesmaids, in-laws and vendors.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, Ph.D, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, lack of sleep can make you sick and lead to weight gain by lowering your immune system and blocking appetite-suppressing hormones, too. Both Breus and Kennedy agree the magic number of hours varies per person, but it should be enough that you feel rested. Finding it hard to catch some peaceful Zzz's for the big day? Follow the doctors' tips and you'll be counting sheep (or wedding guests) in no time.
1. First things first, have a consistent sleep time and wake up time, Breus says. And don't try and sleep in too much on the weekends, it throws off your schedule, Kennedy adds.
2. While it may be tempting to cut calories for the big day, that grumbling tummy may be keeping you awake. Kennedy says, "Eat a healthy diet and be realistic about your weight goals."
3. Cut back on stimulants before you hit the hay. Avoid caffeine eight hours before, exercise four hours before and alcohol three hours before bed.
4. While you're at it, stop all wedding talk an hour before bedtime, too, Breus says. Kennedy suggests compiling an end-of-day to-do list well before it's time to hit the sheets. "The idea is to get these things off your mind before bed so you won't be going through your lists while you are trying to fall asleep," she says. Keep a pad next to your bed to jot down thoughts that creep up, so they won't keep you awake.
5. Power down an hour before bed and cover devices that light up, Kennedy says. Breus says during the night, "Try not to watch the clock. It only makes you more anxious."
6. Right before bed, draw yourself Breus' aromatherapy bath: Pour some lavender salts into a tub of warm water and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Finish it off when your head hits the bed with a good pillow that doesn't stress your neck.
7. You finally have a use for that boring book you couldn't bear to finish. Pick it up to help you drift off, according to Breus. If you just can't get through it, Kennedy says fiction helps too as it helps your mind drift away from your running task list.
Try one or try 'em all, as it turns out, the number one reason for brides to get to sleep is to de-stress. "One rough night isn't going to have a long-term impact on daytime functioning or health, but it is important to take care of sleep especially when under a lot of stress, "Kennedy says. So ease up on that to-do list and get some sleep. "Sleep represents healing and balance in your life. Without one you cannot have the others," Breus adds. Two things every bride can use a little more of.