Your wedding may just be one of the most special days of your life. So, don’t be surprised if the anticipation keeps you up at night. It’s normal. Nerves and excitement never made great sleeping partners. However, this is one event you probably want to get some rest before. Low-quality or no sleep affects you physically and mentally so it’s in your favor to try to get some shut-eye. Stack the odds in your favor with these expert-approved tips for sleeping the night before your wedding.
Establish a sleep schedule.
In the lead up to your wedding, it’s in your best interest to start (and stick to) a consistent sleep schedule, or sleep cycle. This will help you get your circadian rhythm in check ASAP. If you’re a bit closer to your date, no worries. Andrew Varga, MD at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells us that it’s most important to establish this pattern in the one to two weeks leading up to your wedding. “If you’re an eight-hour sleeper, then you should plan to get the same eight hours of sleep on all days and again on the night before the wedding itself,” he says. That can mean 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., or 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.—consider your daily schedule and try what works best for you.
The important thing here is to get your body into the right sleeping habits. It may be challenging at first, but eventually, your body will start to feel when it’s time to go to bed. Remember: It’s not earth-shattering if you break schedule once or twice (hello, pre-wedding celebrations!). Just do your best to stay diligent those two weeks before.
Photo Credit // Sarah Cramer Shields
Be mindful of your daily habits.
The process of getting a good night’s sleep begins long before your head hits the pillow. Be aware of the following during the day in order to create a successful sleep schedule.
- Caffeine: Coffee may help you get through all of that wedding planning, but ingesting caffeine too late in the day can throw off your sleep. In fact, caffeine stays in your system for four to six hours after you consume it. Because of this, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends cutting caffeine consumption at least six hours before bed.
- Alcohol: Like caffeine, alcohol takes time to metabolize. About one to three hours per drink on average, to be specific. As your wedding draws near, limit your alcohol intake to one or two beers or glasses of wine at least a couple hours before you go to bed. This will allow your body enough time to break it down. Any more than two drinks, though, and the alcohol could disrupt or prevent deep sleep.
- Exercise: Yes, regular exercise can improve your quality of sleep. Exercising too close to bedtime, though, can have the opposite effect. If you work out and try to sleep soon after, chances are you’ll feel too energized to snooze. Instead, try getting any workouts in two or more hours before sleeping. That way, your body has time to return to its relaxed state.
Disconnect from electronics.
We know, we’re also guilty of getting in bed only to pull out our phones and open [insert social media platform here]. While you may catch yourself dozing off from time to time mid-scroll, using electronics before bed greatly inhibits your ability to fall asleep. This is in large part due to blue light. Simply put, the light that comes from your screen is physiologically and psychologically stimulating. It delays your internal clock and stops the release of melatonin, making it harder for you to feel sleepy.
“If you anticipate some extra nerves the night [before your wedding], we recommend shutting off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime,” says Varga. This includes all phones, tablets, and televisions.
Just like you set a nightly bedtime, set yourself a digital curfew—ideally an hour or two prior. Varga says to use that new-found free time for relaxing activities, such as guided visualization, serial muscle relaxation, and deep breathing exercises. We also recommend meditation, reading, and journaling, if that’s more your preference. You’ll be falling asleep sooner than you realize.
Take a warm bath or shower.
A hot shower or soak towards the end of the day is as relaxing as it gets. For one, the warm water helps to release physical stress and ease your muscles. Furthermore, going from warm water into a cool temperature bedroom will cause your body temperature to drop, which in turn makes you feel tired.
As Varga puts it, “A hot shower or bath can help [you fall asleep] by dilating your peripheral blood vessels, which in turn lowers your core body temperature, which aids in sleep onset and depth.” Light a couple of candles and throw in some essential oils, while you’re at it.
Photo Credit // Danny Weiss
Create the right environment.
The best environment for sleeping involves more than a comfortable blanket and copious amounts of pillows (just us?). Prep your bedroom by making sure it’s dark, quiet, and set at a cool temperature (around 60-67 degrees). The latter helps your body to drop in temperature, which naturally induces sleep. It’s harder for your body to do this when the surrounding area is too hot or too cold. Warmer (or colder) temperatures can leave you tossing and turning and run a good chance of waking you up in the middle of the night.
To complete your sleeping sanctuary, Varga recommends covering or turning any clocks away and charging your phone in another room. That way, in case you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re not tempted to check it. You can try a comfortable eye mask, too.
Wake up the morning of your wedding feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Fall asleep fast and deep—and stay asleep—with these expert-approved tips for how to sleep the night before your wedding.