The week before a wedding is one of the exciting but stressful times in anybody’s life. Your mind will likely be racing with decisions that still need to be made, worries about what could go wrong, and general jitters about your commitment.
This is all perfectly normal, but you’ll be better off if you can master a sleep schedule ahead of your wedding, ensuring you feel refreshed on the big day. Nobody wants to look exhausted in their wedding photos, after all.
Get into a sleep routine long before the wedding starts, practicing sleep hygiene so your body is trained to rest. That means no screens after a certain hour, lowering the temperature in your bedroom and body before sleep, and adhering to a sleep-wake schedule.
Planning a wedding can be stressful, so keep a worry journal and write down your concerns so they don’t keep you up at night. If you also come up with solutions to these potential issues, so much the better.
What Causes Pre-Wedding Insomnia?
Insomnia is difficulty falling or remaining asleep at least three times a week. Ordinarily, this is measured over a month. Given the intensity of emotion that immediately precedes a wedding, a week can feel like 30 days or more.
Many people experience insomnia before a wedding due to stress and anxiety. The Journal of Psychiatric Research explains that anxiety and insomnia are intrinsically linked, and it’s understandable that you’ll be nervous ahead of such a big occasion.
As the big day approaches, it becomes ever more vital that you get sufficient rest. It’s advisable to train your body and mind to sleep better around a month before the wedding, bolstering your chances of sleeping peacefully before walking down the aisle.
How Much Sleep Do I Need Before a Wedding?
Conventional wisdom claims that we all need eight hours of sleep to flourish, but that’s not necessarily the case. As explained by Science, some people are at their most efficient on just six hours of sleep, while others need no less than nine hours to function.
You’ll know best how much sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. That is vital on your wedding day, as while it may be the happiest day of your life, it’ll also likely be one of the busiest.
You’ll spend the entire day meeting and greeting countless friends and family members, some of whom will be in your everyday life, others that you’ll need to rack your brain to recall. All eyes will be on you, and emotions will be running high. You’ll need plenty of energy to make it through the day.
There are also photos to consider. Wedding photographers are skilled professionals who capture moments nobody could hope to replicate with a smartphone. Ensure you sleep well so you look your best in photos that’ll likely grace your home for the rest of your life.
How to Sleep Before Your Wedding Day
Having established the importance of sleeping well before your wedding day, let’s discuss ten techniques to help you get sufficient rest:
Practice Sleep Hygiene
As mentioned above, sleep hygiene is essential to sleeping well. That means establishing a routine that trains your body and brain to get enough rest each night. Examples of sleep hygiene include:
- Going to bed and waking up at a set time each night and day.
- Avoiding screens for an hour before bed and allow your mind to unwind and relax.
- Reducing your body temperature and the ambient temperature of a bedroom before bed. Open your bedroom window and take a shower or bath to cool off.
- Stretch your muscles and clear your mind before getting into bed.
- Use the bathroom last thing to minimize the risk of waking up to pee in the night.
Sleep hygiene doesn’t arise overnight, but if you stick to a routine, it’ll start to take hold. Begin the process several weeks before your wedding, and a good night’s sleep is likelier to come naturally when the big day approaches.
Go Incommunicado After Dark
We just mentioned how important it is to switch off electrical devices before bed, but this is especially critical in the run-up to a wedding. You’ll find that your notifications go crazy at all hours with questions and demands.
These demands on your time can become a 24/7 concern if you allow them to do so. Set boundaries with yourself, refusing to address emails, text messages, social media notifications, or phone calls after a set time.
You risk entering a tailspin of concerns if you check your emails before bed. An email from a florist saying they could not source enough pink peonies can feel like a disaster at 11 pm, but in the morning, you’re likelier to think straight and replace the order with dahlias.
Create a Worry Journal
Everybody wants their wedding day to be perfect, and the idea that something could go wrong may keep you up at night. Telling somebody not to worry about their wedding is unrealistic, so try to keep your fretting from taking over your life.
Designate a set point of the day for when you’ll permit yourself to worry about your wedding. In between, keep a “worry journal” and write down any concerns as and when they come into your head. Once they’re noted, push these qualms to the back of your mind until the time comes to consider them.
While reviewing your worry journal, keep a clear mind and think about what you can do to resolve any potential problems. You can’t control the weather or the health and behavior of others. Focus on what Plan Bs you can put into place.
Exercise During the Day
This advice sounds obvious, but it’s a point worth making. The more physical exercise you undertake during the day, the more tired you’ll be at night – and thus, likelier to sleep.
You may think, “but I am already tired at night, and that doesn’t help me sleep – and I’m too busy to exercise.” Being physically tired differs from the mental exhaustion that arises from wedding stress.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine confirms that moderate-intensity exercise relieves anxiety and reduces insomnia risk. 30 minutes of brisk walking or jogging is the daily recommended amount but try to indulge in a little more movement if you can.
Practice Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Meditation and breathing exercises can to slow down your heart and clear your mind before bed. Search the web and you’ll find a range of free guided meditations, many of which are dedicated to wedding stress and nerves.
If you’re cynical about the potential power of breathing exercises, attempt this technique.
- Lay down and close your eyes.
- Close your mouth and slowly breathe through the nose while counting to six.
- Hold your breath for a moment or two.
- Open the mouth and exhale for six seconds.
- Close the mouth and breathe in again.
Repeat this process for 10 minutes and you should feel calmer, enjoying the ability to make clear-headed decisions. This will help you enjoy restful slumber at night, feeling comfortable that everything is in hand.
Some people find falling asleep beside a partner easier, while others find it challenging to sleep when sharing a bed. If you fall into the latter category, sleep in separate rooms for a few days to avoid pre-wedding insomnia.
You’ll theoretically sleep beside your partner for the rest of your life once you’re married. If they snore, kick, run a high body heat, or anything else that keeps you up at night, consider sleeping alone in the week leading up to your wedding.
Sleeping alone doesn’t suit everybody (a stuffed animal may help), but it may be essential to getting your beauty rest. If nothing else, you’ll be less likely to talk about your wedding at bedtime, setting your mind racing all over again at the worst possible time.
With so much to plan in the run-up to a wedding, you’ll be keen to keep your mind sharp. That may involve consuming coffee and other caffeine-rich drinks, as well as relying upon other stimulants.
While it’s potentially unrealistic to cut out coffee completely, limit your intake to mornings. Caffeine is widely claimed to have a half-life of six hours, but Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance explains how it can impact the body for up to nine hours.
The same applies to other stimulants. Sleep Medicine Reviews stated that alcohol and tobacco can be linked to insomnia. Find a different way to settle any nerves you may be experiencing about your impending wedding.
Utilize Natural Sleep Aids
If your difficulty sleeping is exclusively due to your wedding and not part of another medical concern, avoid the temptation to seek prescription medication. Drugs like Xanax will put you to sleep, but you’ll likely wake up groggy and sluggish in the morning.
You will be better off seeking natural sleep aids. Start by seeking organic, over-the-counter sleeping pills from a pharmacy. These aren’t tranquilizers but contain natural ingredients that help you nod off at night.
Look into the use of essential oils, too. Lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and bergamot are renowned for aiding sleep. Place a diffuser in your bedroom to inhale essential oils overnight, or dilute them and apply them directly to your skin.
Consider snacking on a banana 2-3 hours before bed, too. Bananas are packed with magnesium, which bolsters melatonin production – referred to as “the sleep hormone.” Melatonin reacts to darkness to create a feeling of sleepiness.
Get a Massage
Another way to allow your concerns to melt away is to engage in a full-body massage. The International Journal of Neuroscience confirms that massage reduces cortisol and releases dopamine and serotonin.
The relaxing properties of a massage will have multiple benefits in the build-up to your wedding. The less stressed you are, the likelier you are to make better choices. You will also be more efficient.
This, in turn, will mean that you sleep better at night. You’ll be able to head to bed safe in the knowledge that your wedding plans are under control and that you can look forward to the day with excitement rather than trepidation.
Talk to Friends and Family
Don’t fret and worry alone about your worries and excitement about your impending wedding. This is a major event in your life, and it’s not something you will get through alone. One of the purposes of a wedding party is to ensure you have somebody to turn to.
If you feel tense or worried, tell somebody and let them talk you off the ledge. Don’t worry about your feelings being laughed at or considered stupid. Weddings are emotional occasions – people expect you to be going through some degree of turmoil.
Be careful not to cross any lines into rudeness or unreasonableness. Nobody wants to be known as a “bridezilla.” You’ll find that most people are prepared to act as a sounding board for most concerns and questions.
I Didn’t Sleep the Night Before My Wedding
Sometimes, sleep eludes us no matter how much we try to get a good night’s rest. If you’re going into your wedding day on the back of limited sleep, try not to panic. There are a handful of ways you can remain sharp and wakeful during the day.
Grab 10-minute power naps when you can, such as while having your hair and make-up prepared. This can be surprisingly refreshing. Just make sure you don’t fall into a deeper sleep and restart your sleep cycle, or you may wake up groggy and disoriented.
Throughout the day, keep hydrated. Never be without a glass of water, even if you are alternating between this and champagne. Coffee is also a good way to start the day, but don’t get too wired on caffeine – that will make you anxious and jittery. Don’t pair coffee with energy drinks – that will make you sleepier, which is the last thing you need.
Take a cold shower to shock your body and brain into life, and eat a breakfast that provides a steady release of energy. Eggs are a good choice (use wholemeal bread rather than white if served with toast), or oats – especially when paired with berries.
Most people struggle to sleep before a wedding, including brides, grooms, best men and maids of honor, and parents of the wedding party. By ensuring you sleep well, you’ll be ready to take on anything that your wedding day can throw at you.