Conquer Wedding-Induced Insomnia
If thoughts of glamorous gowns—or a growing guest list—are keeping you wide-eyed at night, here are smart ways to ensure you get some much-needed shut-eye. After all, the only bags that should show up on your wedding day are the ones you've packed for the honeymoon.
Spring into Sleep
Find a mattress that offers comfort and support. "A firm mattress isn't always best," explains Eric Montague, of Sealy. "Plush models also provide correct support. What counts is how your back feels when you lie on it." Also, size matters. "Queen-size beds are more comfortable for couples than full-size because they add five inches in length," says Robert Malin, of Serta. "The more room you have to move around, the better you'll sleep."
Choose Decor You Adore
"Your bedroom should be a place you look forward to sleeping in," says Stephen Devine, a feng shui consultant in Easthampton, MA. "The room should be as neat as possible. Clutter creates stagnation in your life." He suggests painting your room in warm colors (such as blush and rose) as opposed to harsh hues (stark white), and accenting the walls with serene art "to avoid a sterile feeling."
Eliminate the Electronics
According to Devine, televisions, stereos, and computers don't belong in a bedroom. "All of these things bring activated energy into the space, which is not conducive to sleeping."
Turn off the Lights
"Ideally, your bedroom should be very dark and quiet," says Margaret Moline, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorder Center at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center in White Plains. It should be a comfortable temperature (researchers suggest between 60 and 65 degrees) with good air circulation.
Lying in Wait
For most brides, the problem isn't falling asleep, it's waking up in the middle of the night with your mind an endless checklist of wedding-related errands that need completing. "Most people wake up roughly every 90 minutes for a few seconds," says Rafael Pelayo, M.D., assistant professor at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA. "If you're sleeping soundly every night and on a regular schedule, you don't even realize that you have woken up; but when you're suffering from insomnia, these mini-wakings will be enough to jolt you wide-awake because you're not getting deep, sound sleep to begin with." So how do you return to the Land of Nod? "Walk out of your bedroom for a few minutes and do something boring, like doodling on a notepad or listening to soothing music," advises Dr. Pelayo. "These activities promote rest." Just don't look at the clock. "It will make you start to worry that it's late and you're not sleeping," he says. "The brain translates worry into a message that says 'stay awake.' "
One of the best ways to combat insomnia is to deal with the problem before hitting the sack. "Lock into a wake-up time and stick to it for at least eight weeks before the wedding," advises Dr. Pelayo. "Then, go to bed a half-hour later than usual. Take 20 minutes of that extra half-hour before bed and sit alone with your thoughts. Consider it your worry time." Use this break to write a to-do list with everything on it. "After 20 minutes, tell yourself, 'I am done with my day. Whatever's unfinished I will pick up tomorrow,' " he says. "During the last ten minutes, do something that you enjoy, like reading for pleasure or having a cup of herbal tea, then go to bed. You should fall asleep easily since your mind will be clear."