You’ve never been so tired—and you’ve never been so wired. When you crawl into bed at night, your mind scrolls like an IG feed of favors and flowers. But it’s super important to commit to your beauty sleep—which we promise will have benefits far beyond puffless eyelids and dewy cheeks.
“You’ll be much more effective taking care of wedding details if you’re taking care of yourself,” says Arianna Huffington, media mogul turned sleep evangelist and author of The Sleep Revolution. In fact, studies have found that—beyond generally looking cuter—sleeping six to nine hours a night leads to a clearer mind and more creative problem-solving. (When your planner wants your opinion on tissue paper color, it won’t feel like she’s asked you to explain the finer points of net neutrality.)
The first step to sleeping better is—brace yourself—putting your phone in another room. (Huffington even has a doll-size bed to charge hers in overnight.) Spring 10 bucks for an actual alarm clock because late-night thumb swiping on your phone “is essentially giving you jet lag,” explains Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. “The light tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime.” What’s more, the emotional stimulation of wedding planning means you’re staying up later and are less likely to sleep well, she says.
“Your phone is like that bad enabling friend who preys on your excitement,” she continues. “It’s like, ‘Look at one more cake feed and you’ll find your perfect one! Let’s cross-reference honeymoon hotels for three hours!’”
Replace your phone with a different stimulus. “You can’t break a habit, only change it,” Price says. “When you go to reach for your phone, you need something else for that hand to do—how about touching your fiancé?”
Granted, you may not want to touch if that foghorn’s snoring is partly to blame for your slumber bummers. “In a weird way, it’s borderline abusive to subject your partner to bad sleep,” says Chris Winter, a Virginia-based neurologist and author of The Sleep Solution. Around 60 million people a year report suffering from sleep disturbances, and romance-spiking research suggests that sharing a bed can make matters worse. If that’s you, Winter recommends “sleep-cations”—two set nights a week when you snooze apart.
(Predetermine the days so no one reads too much into “I’m sleeping in the other room tonight!”) “If you love your partner,” Winter says, “give that person a break from the sounds of small animals dying.” For the other five nights, soft foam earplugs—the kind rated to block the sounds of jets taking off—certainly couldn’t hurt.
Ironically, the worst sleep offender may be the thing you’re dreaming about: your wedding. If you’re taking longer to catch zzz’s due to bridal anxieties, Winter suggests thinking of bedtime as “the earliest I’ll go to bed” instead of “when I should be asleep” to give yourself a cushion. When a million to-do’s jack your mind into overdrive, put ye olde pen and paper on your nightstand, and “write those thoughts down to get them out,” instructs Price. Do this analog style, so you “avoid being distracted by Instagram.”
Actually, you'll want to cut back on all kinds of stimulants before you hit the hay. Avoid caffeine eight hours before, finish your alcohol at least three hours prior, and try to get your exercise in first thing in the morning as opposed to late evening, because Winter says "frantic movement cues your brain it's supposed to be turning on, as opposed to winding down."
Don’t be surprised, either, if you simply can’t conk out the night before the big day (flashback feeling: waiting for Santa Claus...but to the millionth power). You shouldn’t stress about being a zombie bride, though, or get up and get all tasky with your DIY list. “Brides may be like, ‘I might as well work on centerpieces,’” Winter says.“Don’t do that. Resting or meditating does a lot of what sleep does, so it’s not wasted time.”
And if you’ve committed to quality shut-eye for months beforehand, Huffington says that come your wedding day, “you’ll be much more joyful and able to meaningfully connect with your loved ones.”
Go With the Nap
Sleep, it seems, is the latest equivalent of a perfect butt. Sign up for “classes” so you can get yours.
Recharj, Washington, D.C.
Snuggle up with a blanket, head pillow, and eye shade for 25 minutes.
Peace Power Napping, Chicago
Want to sleep on the job? PPN is now commonly reserved by HR departments.
Nap York, NYC
In the city that never sleeps, you can nap in a pod (for 30 minutes or up to nine hours).
AntiGravity Cocooning, across the U.S.
Get cozy in a fabric cradle during this 45-minute hybrid yoga and rockaby sesh.