We all know that enough high-quality sleep is essential to our overall well-being…..But when you’re totally stressed out from wedding planning, it can be difficult to let go of the tension and allow yourself to rest.
In the spirit of mindfulness, I’ve compiled some of my best suggestions for getting more (and better) rest in the days and months leading up to your wedding — though I hope you’ll continue to prioritize sleep even after you say “I Do”!
Start With a Brain Dump
If you’re the type to lie there in the dark remembering a whole list of things you need to address the next day, you might want to start a nightly Brain Dump.
It’s as simple as it sounds: as you wrap things up for the night, take out a piece of paper and write down everything you need to get done the next day. Take a few minutes to make sure there are no other reminders you’re forgetting. Then choose the most important two or three items and put them on a new sheet of paper to address first thing the next day.
It’s much easier to relax if your brain doesn’t have to work hard at storing all that info all night!
Set Achievable Micro Goals
This tip goes hand in hand with the Brain Dump. Instead of focusing on a broad (and overwhelming!) To-Do list, set mini goals for yourself. These are much more achievable and help you make progress over time rather than feeling the pressure to knock it out in one fell swoop.
For example: Instead of saying “Tomorrow I’m going to address all of our Save the Dates” you might say “Tomorrow I’m going to spend 30 minutes in the morning working on addressing our Save the Dates, and another 30 minutes in the afternoon.”
See the difference? Half an hour is a manageable chunk of time that won’t leave you dreading the commitment, and you can continue to work in small chunks until the whole task is complete.
The benefit? You’ll be able to go to bed stress-free because you’ve actually met your goal for the day!
Cut the Caffeine
That late afternoon latte might seem like a great idea to help you power through your evening To-Do list, but it might be hindering your sleep quality. All of the caffeine you consume will still be in your system after 5 hours, making it difficult (or impossible!) to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow. Stick to decaf, or better yet, chug some water and eat a big green salad for a burst of nutrients and energy.
Ditch the Screens
Think of your computer and cell phone as caffeine for your eyes. The blue light from these electronics is stimulating, and tricks your brain into thinking it’s nowhere near bedtime! So your brain won’t produce the melatonin that makes you sleepy, and you’ll be wide awake staring at the ceiling.
To combat this chain reaction, make a point to turn off your electronics at least an hour (preferably two) before bed. If you must be in front of a screen, consider investing in some blue light-filtering glasses, and adjust the display settings on your computer or phone into “Night Mode” to reduce the amount of blue light they’re emitting.
Stretch It Out
We often have tension in our muscles that we aren’t even aware of, especially if we’re spending lots of time in the same position or doing repetitive tasks (wedding DIY projects, anyone??).
Before you crawl in bed, do some deep stretching to work out the kinks and relax those muscles! You can find free yoga sequences for sleep on YouTube, or just pay attention to your body and work out the spots that are harboring the most tension. In general, forward bends are considered a good way to prep for sleep.
Consider a High-Quality Melatonin Supplement
If you’re still finding it difficult to drift off, you might want to give your brain a little jump start with a melatonin supplement. Do your research and choose the highest quality you can find to make sure you’re not getting any yucky additives. (Nature’s Sunshine is a great brand with top ratings from third party quality control testing).
As with any medication or supplement, be sure to consult your doctor first.
Download a Meditation App Like Headspace or Calm
Okay, I know I said to turn off the electronics, but this is the exception to the rule! Headspace and Calm are two incredible meditation apps that provide a daily dose of stress relief.
Choose a one-off guided meditation to help you wind down (you might not even make it to the end before drifting off!), or work your way through a themed series to target issues like Anxiety, Poor Sleep, Relationships, and more.
These apps do require a subscription, but you can try them free to decide if it’s something you’ll find beneficial enough to pay.
Create a Nightly Ritual To Get Your Body Ready For Sleep
Regardless of what you choose to do to wind down before bed, make a routine and stick to it each night. After awhile, your body will recognize that those action steps are a precursor to rest, and will begin relaxing with less effort.
To amplify this effect, create a playlist of slow, calming music to play as you go through your routine. Your body will actually learn to relax when it hears that music!
Give these suggestions a try, and I bet you’ll be getting more beauty rest in no time. Sweet dreams!