Monday, August 23, 2010

All the Nervous Sleepers*

*Post title intended to be sung to the tune of All the Single Ladies. I was going to come up with a song parody but it turns out that I'm terrible at song parodies. So just sing the title.

I never, ever, ever have insomnia problems. I fall asleep easily, stay sound asleep all night, and wake up feeling great in the morning.

See? Two sleepy peas in a pod!

There is just one exception to this pattern: I sleep terribly when I have a big (exciting OR nerve-wracking) event coming up the next day. Job interview? Vacation? First day of work? Christmas (Yes, I still get that excited about Christmas, WHAT ABOUT IT)? I have a terrible time falling asleep, have crazy dreams, wake up every hour or so feeling wide awake with my mind racing, and ultimately am up for the day with no hopes of falling back asleep by 6 AM. You can connect the obvious dots here. I'd like to avoid that exhausted-with-racing-adrenaline feeling at our wedding, if it's possible. Ideally, I hope I'll wake up the morning of feeling refreshed, well-rested, and calm, rather than tired-but-jittery and full of nervous, spazzy energy.

I'm concocting a game plan in hopes of sleeping well the night before the wedding, and here's what I've got so far:

No alcohol at the rehearsal dinner. Maybe one glass of wine early on, but that's it. Sadly, I've come to learn that at the ripe old age of twenty-five, I can't hang with the booze like I used to. Alcohol definitely does help me fall asleep, but it's terrible for staying asleep. Being tipsy before I go to bed will only contribute to the wide-awake-every-hour phenomenon. Also, I've discovered the hard way that at this point, I will feel aftereffects from even a minor buzz the next morning. Gross (and my college self would be so ashamed!).

White noise. When I'm anxious and anticipating a big day, I lay in bed and my mind just races non-stop. The most frustrating is when I can't seem to turn my brain off about the fact that I can't sleep, and I lay there thinking, "I'm not tired yet. Oh man, I need to get tired. I need to fall asleep. How long have I been laying here? Unless I fall asleep soon, I will get less than seven hours of sleep, and then I'll feel bad tomorrow. I need to fall asleep." ARGH!


Playing quiet music or sounds seems to help, since it gives my brain something to focus on other than my own crazy thoughts.

Hot herbal tea and a long, hot shower. This always helps me slow down, calm down, and relax.

Candlelight Yoga. I've pitched this DVD here before, but I just like it so much!


Doing the stretching and deep breathing, especially in dim lighting, always makes me sleepy. I'm usually yawning uncontrollably during the guided relaxation routine at the end. It's available on Netflix Instant, so I can easily do it in my hotel room at night using my trusty laptop.

Chemical aid/herbal supplements. This is the part where I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm not at all against the idea of using some kind of medicine to help me get some sleep, but I've also never done it before. I don't want the pendulum to swing too far in the wrong direction and feel groggy, sluggish, and out of it in the morning any more than I want to feel exhausted-hyper. If I'm going to take any kind of sleep aid, I definitely want to try it out beforehand, so I need to figure some options out soon. Mom Octopus told me that melatonin supplements are supposed to be helpful; does anyone else have an over-the-counter sleep aid to recommend?

Any other nervous sleepers out there? What are you going to do to make sure you get some rest the night before your wedding?

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