It’s always difficult to sleep before a big event. The ‘what if the alarm fails’ insomnia before a flight, looping your Powerpoint in your head before a big work meeting or quizzing yourself on your other half’s extended family’s names ahead of some auntie’s 60th can all see you clock-watching until the wee small hours.
Your wedding will be no different – in fact, it will probably be worse (soz!). It’s hard to count sheep when you’re wishing you’d confirmed with the celebrant a lucky seventh time, or saying silent prayers that your H/B2B is also tucked up in bed and not passed out on a couch with one eyebrow.
Nothing prevents sleep quite like worrying about lack of slumber, so follow these steps and drifting off on your last night as a singleton will be as easy as A, B, ZZZZZZZ.
1. Get into the groove
Prepping for a quality kip on the eve of the wedding starts long before your bridesmaids tuck you in. Maintain a decent sleep routine as soon as you can – ideally, at least one month before – and you’ll find yourself falling into sync. Go to bed at the same time each night, and aim to wake up at a consistent time. Even at the weekend. *groans*
2. Ditch technology
The blue tones emitted by screens (computer, TV and smartphone) all produce ‘short-wavelength-enriched’ light, which affects the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Not checking Instagram one last time is easier said than done, so make sure your iPhone or iPad is upgraded to iOS 9.3 or above, as it has a Night Shift mode that automatically adjusts to warmer colors, reducing the evil sleep-meddling blue hues.
3. Embrace technology!
2016 has been my year for snoozing. Why? I downloaded the Sleep Cycle app. Pop your phone on your bedside table with the app running overnight and it monitors your movement and breathing and maps out the REM stages of your sleep, giving each night a percentage rating of sleep quality. Even better is the amazing ‘Wake Up Phase’ alarm system. Set it to the recommended 30 minute window and the app will calculate when you’re in the lightest sleep before sounding the alarm. It’s the tech equivalent of Cinderella’s birds flying through the window to gently revive you in the morning. You can also leave notes on each night’s sleep so you can track what factors have the most disruptive effect on your sleep. Speaking of which…
4. Ban the booze
While you might look comatose, a prosecco-induced snooze is seriously ineffective for resting the mind and body. Ordinarily, you should have six or seven cycles of REM sleep, but this drops down to just two when you’ve been drinking. You’ll never forgive yourself for walking down the aisle feeling groggy and looking rough, so pass on the bubbles on the eve of your wedding (all the more left for getting ready the next day!).
5. Chill out
A relaxing bath, fresh pyjamas and a clean bed could practically be prescribed for unwinding and de-stressing. Through a soothing scent into the mix and you have a one-way ticket to Sleepytown. Treat yourself to a scented candle, reed diffuser or pillow spray infused with lavender, rose or jasmine, and swap G&Ts for cups of chamomile tea. Consider watching a chick flick with your bridesmaids rather than a rowdy tequila-fueled game of I Have Never. Think comedy rather than weepies though, puffy eyes after howling at The Notebook for an hour isn’t the party prep we’d recommend!
6. Snooze-tastic surroundings
Whether you’re staying at the venue, or in your own home before the big day, make sure the room is ready for resting. Make it as dark as possible, with no electronic lights (plug appliances off at the powerpoints, as even standby red lights can be distracting). Consider wearing a sleep mask and ear plugs for ultimate tuning out, as if you do wake up during the night, panic will likely set in and you’ll find it very challenging to get back to sleep.
7. Lean on lists!
During planning, lots of brides end up staring at their bedroom ceiling as they toss and turn, trying to decide if the two or three hour photobooth package is better value, or having eureka moments when the remember the website that can dye bridesmaid shoes powder blue (FYI, it’s Rainbow Club). If this sounds like you, get in the habit of keeping a notepad next to your bed. Jotting thoughts down as quickly as you have them will make it easier to get back to sleep, rather than repeating memos as you try to etch them into your brain. As your head hits the pillow on the night before your wedding, your mind will be going into overdrive. Write down the wedding morning timeline the week before, so you’ve committed to paper exactly who needs to be where and when.