Don’t pretend you didn’t resent getting out of bed even a little this morning, you’re only human, darling! So, our regular babes might remember that back in December, I wrote to you guys about the importance of an all natural, positive Morning Ritual, so we thought it was about time we hit up the flip side of this, your sleep habits.
Super important for any human, and all the more so for a bride-to-be. We want happy, healthy brides at their very best on their wedding day, and that starts right here, with our guide to getting yourself a sound slumber.
OK, so this one is always a hot topic on my lips. Having always been a bit of a night owl as a child, and then having endured years of insomnia in my early twenties; I gotta say, I feel pretty clued up on this one!
Whether you suffer with sleeping on a normal basis or not, a lot of bride-to-be’s (despite being all kinds of tired after busy days of planning and prepping) will tell you that they struggle to drift off at night. No wonder, really…
Mind’s whirring, to do lists pinned to literally every wall of your bedroom, phone’s buzzing constantly, and man alive, you wish you could decide whether to veil or not to veil…
Not really conducive to a good night’s sleep, hey?!
But don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, here at FBrides HQ, we’ve always got your back! So kick back, relax and let us talk you through some of the best, tried and tested, natural steps towards a sound slumber!
‘Why the biggie?
I mean, hello? Have you heard of coffee? And what exactly do you think concealer is for, if not to cover those dark circles that seem permanently affixed to my under eye?’
No. Just no, Clare.
A little older, a little wiser and we’ve done our homework on this one: sleep needs to be like, top ten in your priorities. For real, you need to make time for this in the lead up to your wedding (and life in general!).
Check it out:
- Lack of sleep amplifies the brain’s anticipatory reactions, raising overall anxiety levels
- Excessive sleepiness impairs memory and the ability to think and process information
- Lack of sleep causes a decrease in neurotransmitters which regulate mood
- Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). Lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to increase and leptin to decrease
…I won’t go on, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, dolls! And none of that sounds particularly helpful when trying to plan and enjoy one of the most incredible days of your life, right?!
So, let’s get to it!
THINK about your sleeping habits.
- Research shows that there are major benefits to be had by going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday. Your body thrives on a routine, and going to bed at the same time every night helps to establish a circadian rhythm that the body recognises, allowing your endocrine system to effectively cue the body and prepare for sleep or wakefulness
- Melatonin is the sleepy hormone. You wanna do everything you can to make sure that, come bedtime, your levels of this hormone are high. Blue light, from your tablet device/phone simulates daylight to your brain, thereby lowering Melatonin levels, and should absolutely be avoided during the hour before you go to bed
- Make sleep a priority. This active choice will change everything. You’ll become very aware of how you spend your time before bed, and the environment you sleep in, but we’ll get to that in just a moment!
Consider the elements you CONSUME and how they affect your sleep.
- We’ve all been there: ‘Oh a beautiful glass of red, that’ll help me chill after a long day of addressing invites’ …Sure, initially alcohol may induce a relaxed state, even sleepiness, but as it leaves the body, it causes an increase in body temperature and triggers the sympathetic nervous system (that’s your ‘fight or flight’ reaction) and, you guessed it, that’ll hinder your ability to fall asleep!
- This rule’s easy: no caffeine after midday. It can take your body between 4-6 hours to metabolise caffeine and caffeine prevents the sleep-promoting chemical, adenosine, from working. Don’t be mistaken thinking we’re only talking coffee either, you know that bar of dark chocolate that calls your name at 8 o’clock every night…
- Actively eat foods that promote sleep. That’s right, you can eat your way to the Land of Nod! I’m absolutely besotted with Dale Pinnock’s recipe book: the Medicinal Chef in which he discusses foods rich in tryptophan levels (an amino acid that helps to build Melatonin) and magnesium (a potent muscle relaxant that will help you physically unwind), as well as the avoidance of refined carbohydrates. In a nutshell: eat more bananas, cherries (rich in Melatonin, who knew?!), green leafy vegetables, tuna and low GI grains (a.k.a. brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat) and actively avoid white bread/pasta/rice, sugary snacks and drinks
- Taking liquid herbs can aid relaxation and sleep greatly. Being liquid they are quickly absorbed, super convenient to use, and of course a great natural remedy. Consider Valerian Root and/or Ashwagandha, both of which are know for their relaxant properties
MOVE intentionally to induce sleep.
- A serious amount of research has shown that those who exercise regularly sleep longer and deeper than their sedentary counterparts. It makes sense really, I know certainly for me, if I’m physically exhausted after a workout or a run (or a day of shopping, let’s be real here), I fall asleep seriously quickly, without even thinking about it! And you’re hearing this from the mouth of a former insomniac!
- Yoga. General practice alone will aid your sleep by simultaneously relaxing your mind and calming your body, but we love these specific poses for a sound night’s sleep.
- So y’all know we’re huge, huge Headspace fans (read more on our experience of this app right here) but specifically, Headspace uses a technique known as progressive muscle relaxation; a sequential relaxation of various muscle groups accompanied by rhythmic breathing. Simple, but oh-so-effective, it achieves two things: by relaxing muscles, tension is relieved, which in turn relaxes the mind and secondly the very activity takes your mind off everything else; serving as a form of meditation. Like, for real I fall asleep to this app every night. Without. Fail.
- Sleep on your back (or at least start there!) with a single pillow. So not only is this known to be single-handedly the best sleeping position for it’s restful qualities and good back positioning, but research has also shown those who sleep on their back end up with less wrinkles (think less face shmooshed into pillow action!)
CREATE an environment that facilitates your relaxation.
- The basics: sheets should be washed weekly (if not more frequently), pillows should be washed every 3 months (max.) and mattresses should be changed every 7 years. All attribute to a comfortable, healthy night’s sleep, a great starting point!
- Create the optimal space: a neutral, muted colour palette that’s as dark as possible when actually trying to sleep, but very dimly lit just beforehand, and between 17 – 21°C. It’s a worry free zone (there shouldn’t be a to do list in sight!), it’s uncluttered and quiet
- Use aromatherapy. Did you guys see our essential oils post? Read up on our favourite calming oils and how to diffuse them to fill your room with a calming scent
- This last one’s my fave: treat yourself to a silk pillow case. Not only is it supremely luxurious, leaving you feeling like a goddamn QUEEN every morning, but silk is a natural fabric containing eight (super good for your skin) amino acids, so your skin is literally being nourished while you sleep. Most dermatologists can tell you which side of your face you sleep on by the sleep lines on your face and said sleep lines can turn into permanent wrinkles. But with silk, your face glides; it’s not causing friction and causing sleep lines… Winning!
Here’s to a simply divine night’s sleep tonight (and every night!)
Peace + Love