Written by guest blogger: Stacey L. Nash with tuck.com
As your big day approaches, you may find yourself sleeping less and less. Some anxiety and stress should be expected, but if you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep, some unpleasant surprises might be in store.
Sleep helps maintain the balance between two vital parts of the brain, the emotion and logic centers. Without enough sleep, the emotional center of the brain becomes oversensitive and easily stimulated by negative experiences and thoughts. At the same time, the logic center of the brain becomes less active and influential over your emotions. That's why you may find yourself teary-eyed or angry more often when you're tired.
Lack of sleep can also compromise your immune system. Your body needs sleep to prepare antibodies to fight off infection. No one wants to be feverish while at the altar.
As much as we don't want to be vain, sleep also affects your physical appearance. A study funded by Estée Lauder found that adequate sleep reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as increases the skin's ability to heal from damage.
Luckily, your sleep cycle is sensitive to your personal habits and behaviors, which means small changes can make a big difference. Start by:
Setting a Bedtime
The body craves predictability. By setting and keeping a regular bedtime, the brain is able to adjust the release of sleep hormones to match your preferred schedule. Consistency strengthens your body's response to those sleep hormones as well.
2. Use Your Bedtime Routine to Destress
As you approach your wedding day, your bedtime routine can become your stress management time. Some of our favorite techniques include:
Meditation and Yoga: Meditation, when performed daily, can have profound effects on your mind and body. It strengthens the connection between your emotion and logic centers while training your brain to stay focused on the present moment. It also elicits a relaxation response that lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
Yoga is the stress reliever for those who build up physical tension. A few gentle yoga poses before bed can rid your body of strain while reducing the amount of stress-related inflammation.
Journaling: A journal doesn't have to be a recount of your day, although that can be stress relieving. You can also keep a running list of tasks that need to be done or use your journal to record gratitude.
Reading a Non-wedding Related Book: Some studies suggest that reading can reduce stress by as much as 68 percent, but a bridal magazine doesn't count. Reading a book distracts you from wedding stress so you can relax.
3. Get Comfortable
A noisy neighbor or lumpy mattress might be interfering with your ability to get the sleep you need. Most of all you want your bedroom dark and quiet, but cool temperatures help too. If you wake with aches and pains, you may want to consider an adjustable bed that fits perfectly to your body.
4. Skip the Caffeine
Caffeine and other stimulants block sleep hormones and they can stay in your system for hours. In the early afternoon, start to either eliminate or limit your consumption of caffeine. If you can keep your consumption to the morning, you'll be even better off.
What have we learned?
While a sleepless night or two won't hurt you, chronic sleep loss can certainly get in the way of your wedding bliss. Though it might take time and effort, better sleep habits will help you get the rest you need to look and feel your best on the big day!