In a perfect world we would get a peaceful 8 hours sleep the night before the big day, waking up bright and bushy tailed ready to take on whatever the day throws at us. The reality is something quite different for most however with stress, excitement and nerves keeping us up all hours as we toss and turn into the small hours. Plus we all know that as soon as you think about how you really need to drop off now or you know you’re going to be tired all day, that’s it – you can bet your bottom dollar that you won’t get a wink. What you may not realise however is that you may actually be making it even harder for yourself to drop off and there are a few things you can try to help drifting off happen before you can count to…
SAY NO TO YOUR EVENING TIPPLE
A few drinks to calm your nerves may sound like a good idea, and we all drift off quickly after a few but this can actually have a negative effect on the quality of sleep you’re getting. Alcohol has a negative effect on our REM sleep which is considered the deepest and more restorative stages of rest, and if we don’t get enough rest at this stage of the cycle we are more likely to wake up feeling drowsy and unrested. It may be tempting with so many close friends and family around coming together to celebrate your upcoming nuptials but do yourself a favour and limit the units for your best chances of waking up feeling refreshed.
TAKE A PRE-WEDDING SOAK
We all take baths when we need to unwind and relax and there is no reason why this shouldn’t be on the cards on the eve of your wedding, but did you know that taking a relaxing bath actually reduces our levels of cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress) and has sleep-inducing effects on our body temperature?
At night our body prepares for sleep by lowering our body temperature beginning approximately two hours before sleep. If you’ve been soaking in a hot bath your core body temperature will rise by a degree or two and when you climb out of the tub the rapid rate at which your body cools down imitates the process of cooling your body naturally undertakes. This induces tiredness and increases your chances of a deeper, restful sleep.
We’ve all heard of the clean eating craze, but how about clean sleeping? Most of us are guilty of scrolling through Instagram as we get into bed or catching up on the day’s news but this small habit so many of us have adopted could actually be disrupting your sleep. According to a survey by Sealy UK 70% of us are using some form of technology each night in bed  and the blue light emitted by screens such as our phone, tablet and television effects our levels of melatonin (our sleep-inducing hormone) keeping us awake by stimulating the brain.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the same survey found that one-in-three of us are being disturbed at night by our partner using a mobile device and although you are unlikely to be sharing your bed with your husband or wife to be on the eve of your wedding, adopting a tech-free zone 30 minutes before bed will help you both enjoy a future of well-rested nights as you enter into married life.
SAY NO TO A CUP OF JOE
Many of us turn to a hot cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning, and while you have been busy getting all of the last minute bits and bobs in order before your big day it is likely you’ve been sipping on more cups of the good stuff than usual. However, if it’s been keeping you going through the planning process it goes without saying that the caffeine will be disrupting your sleep when it comes to night time.
Don’t be fooled by just setting down your latte though… caffeine is in a number of drinks you may turn to when looking for something to give you a boost, energy drinks and soft drinks are great examples of this – try and turn to natural sugars in fruits if you’re feeling sluggish as caffeine can linger in your system for a number of hours after you’ve taken your last sip. As soon as it hits 3pm forbid yourself to have a cup of tea or coffee until the next day for the best chances of a restful slumber.
CLEAR YOUR HEAD
Many of us go to bed with a head full of worries and this is even more the case on the eve of your wedding, but if your mind is busy whirring away you will of course struggle to drop off easily as you’re trying to wrap your head around everything that may or may not go to plan at your wedding. Jotting down what is keeping you up will help pluck these from your mind and create a calmer space for a soothing sleep. Take a notepad to bed with you and keep it nearby for any pre-slumber thoughts you may have that could stop you drifting off and although you may feel a little silly initially, jotting down any last minute thoughts before the big day will help you keep control of any niggling thoughts that could keep you up. By writing any wobbles down before you go to sleep it will also give you a hit list of tasks to tackle in the morning that will be much easier with a clear head after a night of peaceful sleep.
NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS (OR WEDDING…)
It is possible that if you’re struggling to sleep in the build up to your big day, you may suffer with an inability to drift off at a number of other stress-inducing moments and events and if left to get out of control could have a real impact on your happiness and general welfare. These tips may have been compiled with your wedding in mind but don’t forget that these apply any time you’re struggling to drop off, so if counting sheep isn’t doing it for you give one of these a go and enjoy a peaceful nights sleep.
For more advice and top tips on how to get a good night of beauty sleep before your big day check out our post with Happy Beds here.
*This post has been written with Sealy UK. All data from the 2016/17 Sealy World Sleep Census, commissioned in conjunction with Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit. In total more than 15,000 people were questioned across the globe.