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How to Sleep the Night Before a Big Day

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Anxiety, adrenaline and a wandering, worried mind serve to steal your sleep the night before a big event—a problem if you need to be alert and awake the next day, such as for your own wedding.


Sleep relies on your brain's ability to let go. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Sleep Physiology study, scientists know that sleep is regulated by the interplay of two main processes—one that promotes sleep and one that maintains wakefulness. Mess either of these up, and you're awake half the night.


Worse, you don't want to take medication, feel groggy or oversleep on the big day either. So where does that leave you?


Count Lambs

“Count your breaths or toe wiggles," says Murray Grossan, MD, author of Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror. “Yes, counting sheep works. It's best to count to an inhale of four and an exhale of six. When the exhale is longer than the inhale, it sends a strong message to the amygdala to relieve stress. Counting takes your mind away from thoughts of interviews or finances," says Grossan. (The amygdala is a set of neurons deep in the brain that are responsible for emotions.)



The more anxious you make yourself about not sleeping, the more sleep will elude you.


“Drop the internal dialogue about what a horrible day you will have tomorrow if you don't get to sleep immediately," says Nancy Gerstein, a yoga teacher and the author of Guiding Yoga's Light. The key to sound sleep lies in surrendering, not in trying harder. Once you're in bed, focus on your breath and clear your mind.


“If you have a mantra, let your mind rest in it," says Gerstein. Try "Breathe, release, sleep."


Review Your To-Dos

“When it comes to a wedding or a big presentation at work, a lot of people worry about what they have to do or if they've forgotten something, which can keep them up at night," says Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute. Write a list and check things off throughout the day.


“Before you go to bed, review that list to put your mind at ease that things are taken care of," says Oexman.


Establish Zeitgebers

“Your typical routines around waking up and falling asleep are called zeitgebers, which are environmental cues that reset your internal clock," says Oexman. They include light exposure, exercise, when you eat and when you brush your teeth. Establish a bedtime routine to help your body prep for these big day moments. If you have the time to plan ahead, focus the month before you know you’re going to have a big day to help establish your circadian rhythm and better fall asleep the night before.


If you’re looking for a data-proven way to sync your sleep/wake cycles (a.k.a. your circadian rhythm), Sleep Number® smart bed sleepers who use the bed’s circadian rhythm feature improve their bedtime and wake time consistency by 35 minutes for better quality sleep.*

“Consider the smell of lavender or a hot shower, whatever it is that works for you. If you incorporate these things into a routine each night before you go to bed, you're giving your body a cue that it's time to go to sleep," says Oexman.


Put Pen to Paper

It might seem old fashioned but pull out a memo pad and jot down your worries, such as being afraid you'll trip walking down the aisle.


“Write down all that bugs you the night before to get it off your head," says Brad Hines, a life hacker, productivity coach and founder of NerdPlayThings.


Sleep cannot be forced, but it can be coaxed.


“Allow yourself to come to it, enter it, and let the world spin without you for a while," says Gerstein.


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle℠ Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.

*Based on SleepIQ® data from 6/9/20 to 8/15/20 of sleepers who viewed the circadian rhythm feature vs. those who did not, with sleep timing capturing bedtime and wake time consistency.

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