As a bride-to-be, the number one thing you need is your beauty sleep, but the closer the wedding gets, the harder it gets for you to fall and stay asleep at night. Sound familiar? If so, you're likely suffering from a case of pre-wedding (AKA acute or adjustment) insomnia. "Acute insomnia lasts for a short time, from several nights up to three months, and can be caused by a stressful event, like wedding planning," points out Dr. Shalini Paruthi, MD, AASM member and Director of the Pediatric Sleep and Research Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. Fortunately, this type of insomnia should resolve once the big day is over, but because you can't exactly afford to wait, here's how to achieve some relief in the meantime.
Modify your bedtime routine
The next time you find yourself tossing and turning at night, for more than 20 minutes to be exact, get out of bed and go to another room. "Try reading or other quiet activities (nothing with a screen!) until you feel sleepy," advises Paruthi. She also suggests not looking at the clock, as this will only make you stressed out about how many hours are left until you have to wake up. "Your bedroom should be quiet, dark and a little cool; it should remind you of a cave," she says.
Minimize screen time
Checking social media and binge watching Say Yes To The Dress is probably the worst possible way to wind down before bed. "The blue light from phones, tablets and laptops, as well as TVs, can hinder the melatonin that is being secreted and telling your brain to get sleepy," warns Paruthi.
Go easy on the caffeine
As much as you crave your cup of Joe, Dr. Meena Khan, neurologist and sleep medicine expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, recommends avoiding caffeine four to five hours prior to hitting the hay since it can add to sleep fragmentation. "Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can stay in our system for hours," notes Paruthi.
Engage in relaxation techniques
According to Dr. Nancy Simpkins, Internist and Medical Consultant for the state of New Jersey, the key to falling asleep, or back to sleep when you wake up, is to learn relaxation techniques. "For example, have a warm cup of herbal tea before bed, practice breathing exercises and try to focus on something beyond your wedding day, like the beaches of your honeymoon destination," she explains.