Do you wake up in a cold sweat after an unconscious vision of your wedding cake getting knocked over, splattered on the floor before you've had your first slice? Or shiver in the night after seeing your wedding dress arriving from the tailor altered incorrectly three sizes too small? Welcome to wedding nightmares, an unfortunate but common side effect of wedding stress.
"Weddings can be stressful events," explains Meena Khan, M.D., assistant professor at Ohio State University's department of pulmonary critical care, sleep and allergy. "Whenever people are under stress, it can lead to insomnia and restless sleep — and nightmares can be part of this as well."
But the good news is you don't have to endure wedding-related nightmares forever. For starters, Khan says, consider developing stress-relieving techniques that will calm you during your conscious and unconscious hours. Those techniques include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.
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Then, "make lists of what needs to be done," suggests Khan. You may be having nightmares that your all-rose bouquet is delivered as a cluster of dandelions because you haven't submitted your final payment to your florist. "Many times people have trouble shutting their mind off at night and start thinking of all the things they have to do which can disrupt their sleep," Khan explains. "If one makes a list of things to be done, this may reduce the ruminating at night and intrusion of worries of the wedding on one's sleep."
You can also ensure you get a good night's sleep with regular bedtime routines that you can continue long after the wedding is over: Don't drink caffeine after noon, exercise regularly, and avoid bringing your electronics into bed. "This all will promote good sleep," Khan says.