Now that I am a bride-to-be, I am starting to become extra vigilant about my appearance. From the mountain of wedding magazines I inherited, I’ve learned that there are a bazillion beauty considerations leading up to the big day. In my case, being what my mother calls an “older bride,” I have an extra set of anti-aging concerns thrown into the mix. Suddenly, creases that I never noticed before have come to the surface and set up shop for good. I am on a mission to turn back the clock during the countdown to my wedding day, starting with sleep time.

I always stick to a strict beauty routine before bed: cleanse face, remove makeup, brush teeth, floss, tone, apply targeted treatments, and lastly moisturize face, eyes, hands, and feet. I figured that this disciplined regimen was the best I could do. It never occurred to me that I could be doing damage after spending half an hour in the bathroom prepping my skin for its beauty sleep.

As it turns out, every night I commit a cardinal sin: I am a side sleeper. And when I can’t get comfortable, I flip onto my stomach, which might be an even more egregious crime. While side sleeping causes wrinkles to form on your cheeks and side of face, stomach sleeping develops lines on the forehead and brow. Even the American Academy of Dermatology warns that sleep wrinkles can become etched into the surface of the skin after years of sleeping in the same position.

The surefire way to avoid pillow wrinkles from forming is to force yourself to sleep on your back. For me, this is easier said than done, since I naturally migrate to the side during the night. I am starting to get in the habit of sleeping with a pillow under my knees, which makes back sleeping the most natural position. As an extra precaution, I am going to deter the formation of sleep creases caused by cotton and trade up to a silk pillowcase. I just put in an order for the wonderfully cheesy Beauty Silkz Pillowcase based on a recommendation from reader Laura. Apparently it’s Hollywood’s “best-kept secret!”

I’ve also noticed that sleeping on my side causes fluids to collect in my face. I wake up puffy and saddled with bags under my eyes. I have tiny eyes to begin with, and after a night of side sleeping, they shrink from the size of whole almonds to almond slivers. Luckily, I am the beneficiary of two samples of YBF’s latest eye creams: Nourish and Refresh. Both are working wonders on my under-eye bags, and I intend to write a full comparison review once I’ve spent more time with them.

Though I might be considered a so-called “older bride,” I don’t feel old enough to justify expensive facial rejuvenation procedures (i.e. fillers, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, photodynamic therapy, surgery). Most of these treatments require repeat visits and start a vicious cycle that can’t be stopped once you start. The one procedure I am considering treating my skin to is microdermabrasion, which removes the top layer of skin and stimulates new cell growth with no discomfort or downtime. But because my fine lines are rather superficial, they should respond to topical products fairly well.

Three nights a week I wash my face with an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser. Right now, I am on my second bottle of Mango Madness Exfoliate Me, a 10% glycolic cleanser that I think is gradually zapping my sun spots and fine lines. Afterward I apply Lather Vitamin C Peptide Renewal serum, which combines sodium ascorbyl phosphate (a safe, effective vitamin C derivative), vitamin A, amino acids, and phospholipids. I then finish off with an old favorite that I have returned to: Skin2Skin Care Anti-Wrinkle Night Recovery. It not only boasts a powerful antioxidant complex and an endless list of botanical extracts, but it also uses advanced peptide technology to promote the formation of collagen—just what my impending pillow wrinkles need.

The medical experts say that sleep gives both the body and the skin an opportunity to recharge. Having noticed an obvious sluggishness of the mind and dullness to my skin after a night low on ZZZs, I must agree with them. According to Dr. Perricone, getting a sufficient amount of rest enables your body to produce more human growth hormone, which makes skin more elastic and less likely to wrinkle. Moreover, a shortage of shut-eye can throw off levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and increases fat retention. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a loss of three hours of sleep inhibits healthy weight loss.

I’m going to need all the help I can get to feel anxiety-free at my future dress fitting. Unfortunately, right now I average 5-7 hours of sleep per night—a full 2-4 hours less than what the CDC recommends. My goal is to get to bed a full hour and a half earlier every night to increase my quality shut-eye. To that end, I am keeping a safe distance from all caffeine (which saps moisture from skin and messes with the mind) after 3pm and am slowly weaning myself off diet soda (which is a just cocktail of chemicals, anyway). Once the new year rolls around, I will be completely celibate from soda. By then, I also hope to be fully benefiting from plenty of beauty sleep.