Do the disagreements and arguments seem to be mounting as your wedding day draws near? There’s more at work than just wedding stress. The mounting pressure of your wedding could be causing sleep loss. Whenever you get less than seven hours of sleep, you enter a state of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep may not start your arguments but it adds fuel to the fire so that small disagreements turn into arguments you regret. Thankfully, you can put a damper on fights by making sleep a priority.
The Emotional Chaos of Sleep Deprivation
The effects of sleep loss affect many of the body’s systems, but, when it comes to your emotions, it’s the brain you need to worry about.
Most of your emotional processing takes place in a part of the brain called the amygdala. Though small, it has a big impact on your behavior. When you don’t get enough sleep, the amygdala goes into overdrive, especially in response to negative thoughts and events. As activity goes up in this part of the brain, emotional outbursts full of anger, anxiety, and/or sadness are common.
Unfortunately, the amygdala isn’t the only part of the brain that changes with sleep deprivation. The prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that’s responsible for executive functions like decision-making, logic, and reason, slows and reduces its influence over your emotions. Sleep deprivation creates the perfect storm for arguments with high emotions and low logic.
Mounting stress and continued sleep deprivation feed into one another until you hardly feel like yourself. While your first step is recognizing the stress/sleep deprivation cycle, the second is to put sleep near the top of your priority list and get reason back in control.
Sleep Brings Balance
Sleep is the body’s healer, recharger, and regulator. The timing and duration of your sleep cycle are highly responsive to your personal habits. That gives you the power get better sleep with sleep supportive conditions and behavior. In the process, you’ll gain the ability to diffuse disagreements between you and your partner.
Prep the Bedroom
For deep, restful sleep to take place, the bedroom has to be a sacred sleep space. Gym equipment and your home office can send your brain the wrong message so they belong in another part of the house.
Is your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet? If not you may need to change your window coverings or get a white noise machine to block out noisy neighbors. Eliminate as many distractions and interruptions as possible. And, of course, make sure the bed is inviting with comfortable bedding and a mattress that supports your weight and sleep style.
Keep a Sleep Schedule
Your body controls your sleep cycle using predictable 24-hour cycles. These are called circadian rhythms. When you keep a consistent bedtime, you support and strengthen your body’s response to these rhythms. Plus, your brain will automatically time the release of sleep hormones to follow your preferred schedule as long as you consistently go to bed at the same time.
Make (Non-Wedding Related) Time for Your Partner
Your relationship with your partner always takes precedence over wedding plans. As you’re working on better sleep and moving closer to your wedding day, be sure to make time for your partner. Spend at least some of that time
talking about things other than the wedding. Enjoy a romantic dinner or veg out on the couch watching your favorite movie while eating popcorn. Quality time together will remind you why you’re getting married in the first place.
Disagreements happen, but at least when you’re getting enough sleep, you know your emotions aren’t running away with you. Rely on your wedding planner and turn to your partner so the two of you can grow closer as you prepare for a new life together.
Contribuutor: Sarah Johnson