Getting Your Beauty Sleep

Finding it hard to sleep these days? Help is on the way. Read our dreamy tips and soon you'll be sleeping like a baby.
by The Knot

Are you losing sleep over the wedding? We're not surprised. Insomnia most often strikes when you're under major stress -- ergo, brides-to-be often suffer its effects. The result: sallow skin, undereye circles, major mood swings -- and you're exhausted! To end your tossing and turning and get the beauty sleep you need to look your best on the big day, read on.

Keep a Sleep Log

It's tough to say exactly how much sleep a person needs. Adults average 7.5 hours of sleep per night, but some need only 5 hours, others 10, to feel refreshed. To determine whether or not you're getting the right amount for you, keep a record of your sleep patterns for a week or two. Each day, write down what time you went to bed, the time you woke up, and how you feel (tired, wide awake, etc.). This will help you recognize how many hours your body actually requires to feel good.

Stick to a Schedule

Don't underestimate the importance of keeping your biological clock in sync. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day -- even on weekends and holidays. Making up for lost sleep by "sleeping in" isn't the answer. If you're suffering from a serious sleep deficit, what you really need is to get in eight hours of shut-eye, two nights (at least) in a row.

Get Moving

Exercise helps ensure getting a good night's rest. Regular workouts reduce stress and ease tension so sleeping will be easier. It's been proven that the physically fit spend more time in the deepest stages of sleep. Try to get at least 30- to 40-minute's worth of exercise three days a week. Take a brisk walk or hit the gym in the late afternoon -- early-morning exercise won't alleviate the stress you encounter later that day -- but be careful not to schedule workouts too close to bedtime. You don't want exercise to rev you up when you should be winding down.

Kick the Caffeine Habit

While a morning cup of joe shouldn't have much of an effect on sleep, caffeine -- even in small amounts -- may keep you awake. Unless you consume so much that your body has developed a tolerance to it, you might want to avoid products containing the stimulant for at least six hours before bedtime. Keep in mind that caffeine can be found in more than just coffee -- it's also in decaf coffee (really!), tea, diet pills, and chocolate. Nicotine is also a stimulant that can keep you awake and disturb sleep patterns, so if you're having a hard time dozing off or find yourself waking up during the night, quit smoking.

Don't Go to Bed Hungry

Going to sleep on an empty stomach isn't a good idea -- the hunger pangs will probably wake you up. Instead, try eating a light snack about an hour before turning in. Stick to carbohydrate-rich foods, which are more easily digested, and stay away from anything high in fat. The jury's still out on the folklore remedy, warm milk. But hey, it's worth a try.

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