Wedding Woes

Can't Sleep - Ideas? Anyone Else?

I'm not fully sure what the story is with this, but since we hit about the month-out line I cannot sleep. Bit of a novel below, but essentially: tips and commiseration very, very welcome.

I'm a pretty organized person, and my fiancé has been a great partner even though planning is not usually his thing, so we are definitely fine on our timeline: we're just waiting for RSVPs and doing really minor things like confirming the exact table set up with the venue. Money is stressing me out a little bit, but there is no good reason for this: we planned a budget, we're on budget, my parents very generously contributed over half the budget we had planned without contributions, and my fiancé has reassured me a couple of times that he has more than enough set aside to cover even a minor disaster on the day. (I'm not a place in my career where I have a lot of liquid assets, but I brought a house to the relationship so it evens out a bit.)

I frequently host pretty large parties, so I don't think it's primarily hosting stress. I'm having a great time with my fiancé now that we're living together, and our practice dancing each evening has even added a nice little reliable romance to these last few weeks - we're great. And I shouldn't be any stranger to generalized stress-y situations, as I went through two graduate programs and work in academia. I didn't lose sleep over my dissertation (well, maybe the night before the defense, but not generally), why am I losing sleep over a wedding? This should be fun!

During the day, once I get over being tired, I'm just excited and happy. We do maybe two wedding things per day, aside from thank-you notes. I avoid caffeine after about 2:30 as a matter of long-engrained habit, go off screens an hour before bed, and meditate before sleep. I do, historically, suffer from "Santa-Clause Syndrome" - I often can't sleep well the night before a big event or major trip, but that's the night before, not weeks. I really, really rely on my eight hours, and this is definitely lowering my wattage.

Any ideas? Anyone else having this problem? 

Re: Can't Sleep - Ideas? Anyone Else?

  • I had that problem, and my insomnia was bad.  But so was my anxiety, and we were on budget, on track, and had no major issues to iron out.  Hell, I got more sleep the day before my defense than any day the week of the wedding.

    --Chamomile tea.  It gave me stupid vivid and really, really lucid dreams, so that was one drawback for me, but it did help.

    --I had to avoid ALL caffeine.  I had started drinking coffee and black tea on alternate days to help with my exhaustion, but the caffeine actually made my anxiety worse.

    --I found little ways to make me relax and to take my mind off of everything.  Puttering around in the garden, walking my dogs, reading books, watching mindless TV...

    --The thing I did that helped the most was I talked to my BFF and my soon-to-be-husband and my mom.  About anything that wasn't wedding related.

    --I counted backwards from 1000, holding each number for one full breath cycle.  Each time I found my mind wandering away from the number, I would start over.  I think the longest I worked at it was to 886, but for the most part, I was out before I hit 950.

    And when things got really bad, I took a couple Benadryl before bed.

    Good luck, I hope you find something that helps!


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    rebecca+m
  • @AtomicBlonde Thank you! Not least, this helps me feel less crazy.
    Your point about just talking is definitely one I should follow. FI and I do talk about other things, of course, but I would definitely say conversation with my best friends and my mom has gotten pretty wedding-centric. I'll make a point to have our next lunches be wedding-free zones!
    And I think counting back from 1000 could really help, too - I do almost this same thing, except I've usually only done it from 100. Recently, though, that means that when I start to get down into the twenties, I'm just emphasizing to myself that I'm not asleep yet. Down from 1000 would help eliminate that weird, counterproductive effect.
    Thank you!
  • When I can't sleep I listen to podcasts. My favorites are Lore, Criminal, and Sword and Scale. I too suffer from not being able to sleep before big events and I find it's because my mind is too busy and doesn't want to shut down. Trying not to think about things is impossible so I've found the podcasts replace the things I'm thinking/worrying/excited about with something to think on that isn't so important and then I can finally sleep.

    It also keeps me from reaching panic where I realize I can't fall asleep and then I'm worried about being too tired the next day etc... Once that thought is in my head it's over and I'm bound to only get maybe an hour or 2 of sleep so I try to make the podcasts a routine even on nights when I'm dead tired and may only hear 5 minutes of it because then I'm not listening to it while thinking I hope this works or I won't sleep...
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I've used melatonin successfully and feel like it doesn't leave me with an hangover the next morning, like Benadryl will do.

    IDK if this helps at all, but I still have a lot of my old choir songs memorized.  I go through and make myself sing each part individually, to keep my mind occupied just enough.  I also use the same movie every time to fall asleep to and I make myself recite the script along with the actors.  Again, just enough to keep my brain occupied.  

    I can't listen/read something new, b/c I get interested and will stay awake for that.
  • I went through it too when wedding planning.  I also often deal with sleep issues when I get really overloaded at work, which I'm dealing with lately.

    I don't do any caffeine at all after noon.  And I often drink chamomile tea before bed. 

    When my brain won't shut off, it sometimes helps to write all the thoughts down.  Or I often will go turn on tv reruns or movies I've seen a billion times.  Or audiobooks for books that I've already read, so I don't need to focus on it or pay attention to it. That distracts my brain enough to sleep usually.

    image 

    OurWildKingdom
  • I had a hard time sleeping before my wedding too. I used lavender oil, which really helped settle me down. I'd also recommend chamomile or sleepytime tea. As PP's have mentioned, writing down your thoughts might help too.

    I also bought some Unisom Sleep Minis and would take one (which is a half dose) if things got really bad.

    I hope you're able to get some relief soon!


    rebecca+m
  • Just FYI, b/c i learned this interesting factoid the hard way: Chamomile is related to ragweed.  If you have ragweed allergies, the tea can basically trigger off your allergies, which is no damn fun.
    madamerwinOurWildKingdom
  • I'm a shift worker and to sleep during the day I listen to really boring podcasts or put a documentary on Netflix. The BBC podcasts really knock me out. 
  • When I can't sleep, I make up totally random stories in my head, putting myself in situations that won't happen. (This sounds crazy, but bear with me.) That crush I had in 5th grade? Well, what if I ran into him in an elevator of some hotel after a charity benefit? What conversation would we have?  Yes, I know this sounds rather crazy but it's the exercise of forcing my brain away from whatever it is is bothering me that really seems to help. If Fabio riding up on a white horse and proposing riding off to a mountain or beach retreat is more your speed, have at it. Or what's something you've been wanting to try, like skydiving- visualize yourself doing that- having the lesson, strapping on gear, going up in a plane with a cute instructor, and jumping... whatever.
    Reading or listening to stories can help calm my brain, but making up my own stories will put me to sleep faster. No idea why, but it's fun and it helps.
    ________________________________


    madamerwinrebecca+m
  • When I can't sleep, I make up totally random stories in my head, putting myself in situations that won't happen. (This sounds crazy, but bear with me.) That crush I had in 5th grade? Well, what if I ran into him in an elevator of some hotel after a charity benefit? What conversation would we have?  Yes, I know this sounds rather crazy but it's the exercise of forcing my brain away from whatever it is is bothering me that really seems to help. If Fabio riding up on a white horse and proposing riding off to a mountain or beach retreat is more your speed, have at it. Or what's something you've been wanting to try, like skydiving- visualize yourself doing that- having the lesson, strapping on gear, going up in a plane with a cute instructor, and jumping... whatever.
    Reading or listening to stories can help calm my brain, but making up my own stories will put me to sleep faster. No idea why, but it's fun and it helps.
    DH does that, too.  He swears that the best insomnia cure is to make up the craziest, wildest stories imaginable. 

    image 

    thisismynickname2OurWildKingdom
  • GBCKGBCK member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I brew tea and read Ian Goncharov's _Oblimov_
    It doesn't make me go to sleep, it just reminds m that I would rather lie in bed and stare at the ceiling than read the stupid book that tells of a man's terminal boredom.

    bleve0821princessleia22madamerwinrebecca+m
  • I have been there. Usually, about once a year, I go through a few weeks of not being able to fall asleep for HOURS - and it seems to get worse each night, since the anxiety about not being able to fall asleep makes it worse. It happened a few months before my wedding, and again this last winter when I was going through a hard time.

    A few things that have helped me:

    - Exercise, particularly in the morning. If I get up early to go for a run, I am usually pretty tired by around 8pm. If I run in the evening, it seems to wake me up.

    - NO caffeine past noon, and none at all if you can manage it.

    - Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed, and turn lights down low.

    - Sleepy Time tea.

    - The 4-7-8 breathing technique (this didn't work for me, but I know people who swear by it - clicky)

    Melatonin PLUS L-Tryptophan. You can buy l-tryptophan online (it's a natural chemical found in turkey and other meats). My dad gave me this tip, which he got from his naturopath. Apparently, if melatonin alone does not work for you, tryptophan acts as a catalyst of sorts. When I took them together, it knocked me out every time and I did not feel groggy in the morning.

    - Benadryl as a last resort

    If you're like me, when you're laying in bed awake, the longer you are awake the more worked up and anxious you will get about not being asleep. Don't look at the clock, since it will only make you to think about how soon you will have to get up. Instead, remind yourself that lying in bed, breathing slowly, and trying to keep your body relaxed may not be as good as actual sleep, but it will offer your body some rest. When I was able to keep from getting worked up about not sleeping, I found I was better off in the morning than when I was tossing and turning all night. 

    And remember - in all likelihood, you'll get past this!

    BabyFruit Ticker
    rebecca+m

  • VarunaTT said:
    Just FYI, b/c i learned this interesting factoid the hard way: Chamomile is related to ragweed.  If you have ragweed allergies, the tea can basically trigger off your allergies, which is no damn fun.
    I learned this after wondering why Chamomile tea was always making me stuffy. Damned allergies!
    BabyFruit Ticker
    VarunaTT
  • Thank you, everyone. I think it partly helps just to have so many people say they went through this, too; it seems so silly to be losing sleep over this, and I don't like to think of myself as a silly person.
    I am kind of a sleep-hygiene fanatic, so there are no screens or clocks in our bedroom except phones, which go face down and on Do Not Disturb an hour before bedtime. I get why the distraction works for some people, but electronics before bed are just not for me - hopefully helpful for any later lurkers, though!
    Most days, I just have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning after breakfast, but I was adding a second cup or a tea around lunch these last couple weeks, even though I really knew better. I'll scale back down, now.
    I think I'll try some chamomile (no allergies here) and melatonin at night - FI already keeps melatonin on hand, but I'm usually in favor of sticking to my established routine without additions and have been trying to just tough it out. Benadryl does knock me out, but I don't like my quality of sleep on it, so the melatonin might be worth trying- at this point, I think I need the rest for the next few weeks even if it means readjusting to my old, unaided patterns after the wedding.
  • rebecca+m said:
    Thank you, everyone. I think it partly helps just to have so many people say they went through this, too; it seems so silly to be losing sleep over this, and I don't like to think of myself as a silly person.
    I am kind of a sleep-hygiene fanatic, so there are no screens or clocks in our bedroom except phones, which go face down and on Do Not Disturb an hour before bedtime. I get why the distraction works for some people, but electronics before bed are just not for me - hopefully helpful for any later lurkers, though!
    Most days, I just have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning after breakfast, but I was adding a second cup or a tea around lunch these last couple weeks, even though I really knew better. I'll scale back down, now.
    I think I'll try some chamomile (no allergies here) and melatonin at night - FI already keeps melatonin on hand, but I'm usually in favor of sticking to my established routine without additions and have been trying to just tough it out. Benadryl does knock me out, but I don't like my quality of sleep on it, so the melatonin might be worth trying- at this point, I think I need the rest for the next few weeks even if it means readjusting to my old, unaided patterns after the wedding.
    If the melatonin alone doesn't work, get some tryptophan capsules and take them with the melatonin - it can make a huge difference!
    BabyFruit Ticker
    rebecca+m
  • One night's update: maybe not the best night's sleep I've ever had, but last night was definitely better!
    I went with chamomile and melatonin; I also moved my bedtime up a bit, because I think being able to wake up more as it gets light is better for my all around sleep cycle, but - light is so eeeaaarrrllllyyy right now. Still, I was lights out around ten last night and felt well rested when I woke up, well before my alarm, but still a full hour and more after first light. 
    I'll try this again tonight - I was particularly exhausted yesterday, but this routine feels like it might work.
    ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdommadamerwin
  • Here's a link to Square Breathing, my go-to recommendation for the people I work with at the jail. https://dopaminedialogue.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/square-breathing-treatment-for-anxiety-without-using-medication/ 
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