Brides-to-be have so much to think about in the run up to their big day – the dress, the guestlist, the family scandals (just ask Meghan about that last one) – all of which can feel a little overwhelming.
What they really need the night before their wedding day is sleep, and lots of it. But it’s practically sleep law that the more you want it, the more elusive catching those Zzzs can be.
We already know that Meghan Markle is staying at the luxurious Cliveden House Hotel, a five-star country house hotel in Berkshire, the night before her wedding.
But just because she’ll be staying in the comfiest bed, with the finest bed linen, doesn’t mean the soon-to-be royal will be grabbing any shut eye.
It’s no myth that beauty sleep is an actual thing. While we’re snoozing, the body goes into ‘repair’ mode. It does this by producing growth hormones, which help to rebuild damaged cells, including those of the skin, hair and nails.
On her wedding morning the last thing Meghan will want to wake up to is red eyes, tired skin and aching joints, particularly when the world’s eyes will be scrutinising her every blemish.
But how do you sleep soundly when you’re dealing with pre-wedding jitters or in Meghan’s case, you’re about to marry a Prince?
By way of service to Meghan Markle and fellow brides, we asked the sleep experts, on how to get a great night sleep the night before the nuptials.
Calm your jitters by eating healthily
Particularly breakfast. “To help us sleep as well as possible, especially when nerves are at their peak, we need a good balance of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in our system,” explains Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s sleep expert.
Dr Ramlakhan suggests eating foods such as chicken, cheese, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk, which will help to boost these hormone levels.
“Most brides will be conscious of what they are eating in the build up to the big day, but during the rush of planning, many will forget to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of rising stabilises metabolism, blood sugar and melatonin production.”
Hide the tech
“This is a topic to really divide opinion,” explains Hope Bastine, sleep psychologist for high-tech mattress maker Simba. “In the modern world, technology has become second nature to us all yet it can easily keep you up at night.”
“Laptops, phones and large televisions have their place in the bedroom, but you need to know how to escape them at the right time,” she continues. Hope suggests keeping the tech out of sight to ensure that standby lights and the temptation of a pre-wedding Facebook scroll doesn’t distract you. “It will be difficult to avoid all the good luck well wishes but essential for the best sleep you can get.”
Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
Yeah you might have to skip that pre-wedding glass of fizz (or at least limit it to a couple). “Caffeine and refined sugars, which are found in alcohol, are stimulants and make it difficult to not only sleep, but to also experience high quality sleep,” Dr Ramlakhan says.
“Although a glass of wine may be tempting to calm wedding jitters and to help you to drift off, it actually disrupts sleep and is associated with more frequent awakenings and night sweats.”
Do a pre-wedding tidy
Clearing up the night before your wedding might be the last thing you fancy doing but a messy and cluttered room is not a calming one. “Anything unnecessary on show just adds to the disorder and gives your room the impression it’s dirty, even if it’s not,” explains Hope Bastine. “Pack anything admin related out of sight as this can easily make you stressed. Vintage style crates, draws, wardrobes and well decorated storage boxes are great for ensuring that organising your pre-wedding sleep space is effortless.”
Clock up the early nights
Getting a good night sleep the night before the wedding requires some preparation in the days leading up to it. “In the run up to the wedding, going to bed by 10-10.30pm a few nights a week is good for the immune system, thus clearing toxins from the body,” Dr Nerina Ramlakhan explains.
“Getting into a routine, by waking and going to sleep at the same time every day, improves sleep quality and increases the chances of a great sleep the night before your wedding.”
Meditate your way into marriage
“For the one night before your wedding a meditation app can be great for calming nerves,” Hope Bastine explains.
Hope’s favourite meditation apps:
http://buddhify.com – because you can select your meditation based on what you are doing and there is only a one-off fee.
https://insighttimer.com/ – its completely free and has a database of 1212 of the world’s most expert teachers in 25 different languages so there is a variety of styles and voices to suit everyone’s tastes.
http://welzen.org/ – is a new app that incorporates the science behind meditation
Listen to Hope’s ‘Melt Into Sleep’ meditation guide here.
Keep calm and catch the ZZZs
Easier said than done when you’re still not quite sure who is going to walk you up the aisle. “Despite the pressure, the main thing to remember the night before your wedding is to try and not worry about getting a good sleep,” Dr Nerina Ramlakhan advises.
“Focus on resting well and even if you don’t manage to sleep well that night it won’t have any significant impact on how you look if you have slept well in the run up.”
Breathe your way to a better night sleep
If the nerves get too much on the eve of the wedding, try a simple breathing technique. “Kundalini breathing is particularly good for a wired mind and body,” says Dr Nerina Ramlakhan. “Sit up straight in bed, pucker your lips as if holding a 10p coin, breathe in forcefully through the lips, and exhale through the nose for two minutes.”
Real brides give their night-before sleep tips
Stick to your usual routine
“I spent the night in my old childhood bedroom, which was really lovely, but it has been many years since I had slept there, so I relied on my Sleep Well therapy balm www.scentered.me to help me drift into peaceful sleep. I use it most night as part of my bedtime ritual so it was really important to me to use it the night before the wedding, as I know it always helps me to sleep better. For me it was about keeping as much of my normal bedtime ritual as normal as possible – and it worked!” Kate Freeman
Forget the sleep rules and relax
“I got married on a Saturday in February and had a tension headache from the Thursday morning until Friday late afternoon, I hadn’t slept a full night in the fortnight leading up to the wedding and was dreading going to bed on the Friday night.
In the end, I gave into my diet (ate pizza with my bridesmaids and drank caffeine for the first time in four weeks) and hid everything wedding related from sight. I didn’t check every last detail as I had planned to, instead I popped a face mask on and read in bed before having a full night’s restful sleep!” Lotti Swanwick, Media relations manager.
Consider a herbal sleeping aid
“I didn’t sleep a wink the night before my wedding. I had planned an early night and remember putting some relaxing music on (the Blue Remembered Hills soundtrack) and I listened to it on loop.. every word, every song… all night. At 4am my best friend who was staying with me and suffers with insomnia said… ‘I know you’re still awake’. It’s safe to say adrenaline, love and champagne carried me through the day!
“I actually turned down a sleeping tablet offered to me by my wonderful mother in law. Having never taken a sleeping tablet before I didn’t think it was time to experiment, but I wish I had. What I would say is that I have since discovered Valerian Root tablets as a sleeping aid, totally herbal and a gentle way to reduce pre-wedding anxiety.” Polly Buckland, MD of The Typeface Group
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