It’s two o’clock in the morning and your body is as heavy as a sack of potatoes but your mind is as active as a five year old on a trampoline. Sound familiar? Anyone who has ever been plagued with a case of insomnia will be able to tell you just how familiar it sounds. Insomnia is like torture in the form of sleeplessness. To many, it’s a constant part of their lives, like an unwelcome house guest or a fly that gets in and refuses to leave you alone. To others, it might be a new thing. The good news is that insomnia doesn’t last forever. It can’t possibly because eventually sleep catches up to us. The bad news is that when it does take over your life it can cause havoc. In the weeks leading up to your wedding you may notice your sleeping habits change a little. If you find yourself being visited by this annoying houseguest and you’re not quite sure how to push it out the door, here are a few practical tips.
Manage your self-talk. Part of the problem with insomnia is that it is a vicious cycle. Once we start sleeping less we tell ourselves the next night that we absolutely must sleep. But insomnia doesn’t respond well to this kind of talk. Insomnia responds best when tricked into us not caring about it anymore. For example, say you haven’t slept properly for 3 nights in a row. On the 4th night you might get all gung ho and think something like, ‘That’s it. Tonight I am going to sleep properly.’ But then when you find yourself still up at an ungodly hour, you start to think urgently, ‘I really must sleep. There is no other choice.’ These thoughts will then catapult a nervous reaction that will in turn prohibit sleep instead of enabling it. What you need in order to sleep is to be able to pretend that it doesn’t really matter all that much. Once you find yourself relaxing you’ll find that sleep will come easier to you.
Notebook-it. The weeks before your wedding can be stressful ones and each night as you’re trying to sleep you might find yourself creating a mental to do list of everything that needs to be done. Well, instead of creating a mental list, why not create a physical one? Try keeping a notebook on your bedside table and when the thoughts hit, write them down. You’ll find that as soon as they are on paper it will clear up room in your head and as a plus, you won’t be worried about forgetting them. You can also use this notebook as a diary and write down any other thoughts you may have that could be inhibiting your sleep. Try it – it’s surprisingly effective.
Create a bedtime routine. Make your bedroom into an inviting haven. Turn off big lights later in the night and use lamps instead. Try to limit the amount of time you spend with technology. Read. Relax. Wind down. Try to create a going to bed schedule that is consistent. Practice going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Avoid napping during the day. These things may all sound like small steps, but they can help make the difference between sleeping well and spending your night watching those little red numbers change.
There are many more resources on insomnia and how to prevent it. This is just a small guide. What’s important to keep in mind is that insomnia is usually a passing phase and it is our bodies’ way of letting us know that we are worried or anxious about something. So next time it hits, take a moment to listen to what your body is telling you and act appropriately. Sweet dreams.