If you manage to get a good night’s sleep before your wedding, you’ll enjoy your day feeling and looking refreshed. A lack of sleep, on the other hand, may lead to dark circles under your eyes, irritability and excessive yawning – none of which are desirable on the most important day of your life!
Our guide will talk you through creating healthy sleep habits by implementing a fool proof pre-wedding sleep routine. Start following our tips as early as possible – ideally, several months before your big day. We’ll also teach you some valuable tips on pre-wedding insomnia, if you’re too worked up to sleep the night before.
Guide to Pre-Wedding Sleep Hygiene
It’s vital to get into a routine of healthy sleep habits long before your wedding. Weddings are exhausting, day-long affairs – so to set yourself up right, you’ll need to be well-rested. Plus, a fresh and relaxed face looks much better in pictures!
Getting yourself into a solid pre-wedding sleep routine should be part and parcel of wedding planning. Though there’s so much to do and think about, it’s not wise to stay up all night organising and fretting about things. You need to take care of yourself- after all, it’s going to be a day all about you and your partner.
By implementing these healthy sleep habits ASAP, you’ll find it much easier to sleep the night before your wedding. Try to start at least a month before your big day, but sooner is better.
1. Fix Your Eating and Drinking Habits
What you put into your body (and when) can have a massive effect on how well you sleep.
1) Avoid caffeine. Caffeine – found in coffee, tea, energy drinks and fizzy drinks – blocks the ‘sleepy signals’ in your brain. Its effects can last over 6 hours. Have your last caffeinated beverage no later than 2pm each day.
2) Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol may make you feel tired initially, but it creates a restless, bad-quality night’s sleep. Have your last drink 4 hours before your bedtime.
3) Eat a light meal in the evening. Have bigger meals for breakfast and lunch instead. Don’t eat anything at all in the 3 hours before bedtime.
It’s especially important to avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals the day before your wedding. Have your hen night or stag do at least a few weeks before your big day!
2. Exercise Daily
Exercise is a vital part of creating a healthy sleep routine. If you don’t tire your body out during the day, you’ll find it hard to switch off at night. You don’t have to run marathons or work out for hours at a gym – even a 20 minute exercise DVD or a brisk walk will do the trick.
Ideally, exercise in the morning or the early afternoon. Working out close to bedtime can wire up the body and make it more difficult to fall asleep. You should also aim for 10,000 steps per day – most smartphones have step-tracking apps if you don’t have a pedometer. You’d be surprised at how many steps you can get in just by walking around your house every now and then!
3. Get Some Sunlight
Getting some direct sunlight on your skin every day will help reset your circadian rhythm. This is your body’s internal ‘clock’ that understands when it’s daytime and night-time, and regulates when you feel tired and when you feel alert.
If you stay holed up inside all day, especially in a room that doesn’t get much light, your body can become confused. Try to get outside in the sunshine for at least half an hour every morning. On cloudy and rainy days, a bright and cool-toned ‘daylight lamp’ can help.
It’s equally important not to get too much light in the evening. From about 6pm onwards, use soft, warm lighting in your home.
4. Work Out Your Worries
We often struggle to fall asleep because our minds are racing. Sometimes we can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen the next day, or we’re worrying about hypothetical scenarios. In the lead up to your wedding, your mind will be consumed by things like your table plan, wedding suppliers, and dress alteration appointments.
So, we recommend that every single day, you write a list of everything on your mind. Do this 1-2 hours before bed. If you’re worried about anything, write it down, and assign a time for the next day that you’ll focus on it. Make a list of what you need to do the next day, any upcoming appointments, and any problems you need to solve.
That way, none of it will be on your mind come bedtime – and if it is, you can remind yourself “I’ve already been over this.” Then, you can practise being mindful (see point 8).
5. Make Your Bedroom Sleep-Friendly
Your bedroom is where you’ll spend approximately a third of your life. Making the place you lay your head sleep-friendly is one of the key parts of establishing good sleep hygiene, and yet it’s something many of us rarely even consider.
1) Invest in a good mattress and pillows. Your bed should be as comfortable as possible.
2) Install blackout curtains or blinds, so that no light gets in at night. If this isn’t possible, try using a sleep mask instead.
3) Wash your sheets in a relaxing lavender laundry detergent, or use lavender essential oils or sachets.
4) Make your room a screen-free zone: phones, computers and tablets are not allowed in.
5) Keep the room cool – a temperature of 15.5 to 19.5 degrees Celsius is best for sleep.
6) Try to block out sound as best as possible. Use a white noise machine or earplugs if necessary.
Your bedroom should only be used for sleeping (and certain marital activities). You want to train your brain to feel sleepy every time you’re in the bedroom, and this won’t happen if you do other things in your room, like watching TV.
6. Build a Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine is crucial for good sleep hygiene. This means that every evening before bed, you should do the same things in the same order, like a ritual. This essentially trains your brain into realising it’s time to feel sleepy.
Here are some ideas:
• Turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bed. That means no phone, tablet, TV, computer or laptop. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime.
• Have a bath. The warm water will soothe your body, relieving tensions built up during the day.
• Have a warm drink (caffeine-free, obviously). Chamomile tea, for example, is wonderful for relaxing.
• Read a book. Don’t pick an exciting, page-turning thriller – choose something calm.
Avoid doing anything exciting or mentally stimulating in the hour before bed.
7. Sleep at the Same Time Every Night
Everyone knows how important it is to put children to bed at the same time each night - even if they don’t feel tired. It’s called ‘sleep training’ and it’s how kids learn to sleep through the night.
But what most people don’t realise is that sleep training is still crucial in adulthood. Yes, this means going to bed at the same time every single night, including weekends. It conditions your brain into feeling tired on cue, and makes it much easier to fall asleep.
Ideally, start doing this several weeks before your wedding, to get your brain adapted to the new schedule. Get up at the same time every morning, too.
8. Employ Mindfulness
Mindfulness is an incredibly powerful tool to help you sleep. Essentially, it means clearing your mind of conscious thought and worry about the future. Instead, you focus on the present: what you can see, feel, hear, taste and smell right now.
Every night, when you get into bed, practise being mindful. Concentrate on the feeling of the duvet on your skin and the pillow underneath your head. Listen to the sound of your own breathing and the wind outside. If you find that your mind slips back into worry, or thinking about the next day, simply acknowledge those thoughts and then redirect your attention back to the here and now.
This is something you’ll get better at the more you practise. Start as early as possible, and you’ll be well used it by the time your wedding arrives.
How to Handle Pre-Wedding Insomnia
Understandably, many people experience pre-wedding insomnia. So many different emotions can keep you up – worry, excitement, butterflies in the stomach, or even cold feet.
What doesn’t help is that the night before the wedding is often spent in a hotel. Our brains can sometimes struggle to switch off if we’re sleeping in an unfamiliar environment.
Practising proper sleep hygiene, and building a concrete sleep routine, will make it much easier to sleep the night before your wedding. But even then, you might find that you struggle to drop off, or you wake up in the middle of the night.
If this happens to you, here is what we recommend.
• Write down your thoughts. If you can’t sleep because your mind is racing, write it all down. Get these intrusive thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
• Use the 5-4-3-2-1 method. This is a mindfulness technique designed for anxiety. Acknowledge 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
• Imagine a relaxing scenario. Picture a peaceful scene – like a beach or a forest – and focus on the imaginary sensations around you, like the sound of the waves or birdsong.
If you still can’t sleep after half an hour, get up. Take yourself to another quiet, dimly lit room and do something relaxing. Have a warm (caffeine-free) drink and read a book, or listen to some calming instrumental music. Stay away from screens, and get back into bed only when you feel tired.
Try not to worry too much about not being able to sleep. Remember that makeup is excellent at hiding dark circles- and you’ll probably be having so much fun anyway that you won’t notice you’re tired.