Many people find Monday mornings to be quite difficult. Office workers can often be seen trying to get through the morning without sleeping on the job. Some people become downright grumpy because they did not get enough sleep over the weekend. If this has happened to you, it’s understandable.
One recent online survey showed that 39 percent of respondents have trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights. The respondents of the survey picked Friday night as the easiest night to fall asleep; nearly 80 percent said they had no trouble falling asleep on Friday nights.
Another survey by hotel chain Travelodge determined that almost 60% of workers have their worst night’s sleep on a Sunday.
So why is Sunday night so special…and so bad, when it comes to getting a full night’s sleep?
Why can’t people fall asleep on Sunday nights just as easily as they do on Friday nights?
Why Sunday Nights Keep Us Awake
According to Dr. Neil Stanley, a sleep expert formerly of England’s Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and now working independently, worrying about work is the most prominent reason for failing to drift off to sleep on Sunday nights.
Dealing with a difficult boss, giving a presentation and the possibility of missing work deadlines are common sleep interrupters. Additionally, Dr. Stanley says that most people don’t take part in very many physical or mental activities on Sundays, which can make them even less likely to feel sleepy at bedtime. Sunday also happens to be the day that many people have a heavy meal for dinner. Heavy meals can feel satisfying, but they often cause sleep interruptions because they take a long time to digest. Any one of these circumstances can create an environment for sleeplessness. Dr. Stanley believes that our bodies actually want a regular sleep schedule. He maintains that people should do everything they can to adhere to their regularly scheduled sleeping and waking times.
Sunday Night Insomnia
Apart from the aforementioned online survey, there has been little information addressing the subject of Sunday night insomnia. However, there are clinicians who work with sleep deprivation patients. Many of these patients experience Sunday night insomnia. Sleep deprivation clinicians have theories and remedies for Sunday night insomnia. One such clinician is Dr. Guy Meadows, Director of The Sleep School in London. He has workshops that help patients to fall asleep naturally. Many of his patients become quite anxious when they cannot drift off into a natural slumber.
Dr. Meadows believes that people who have trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights feel extra pressure when trying to go to sleep. Many of them believe that sleeping well on Sunday nights will prepare them for the coming week. However, bedtime is usually the time when the mind starts to process things that people find disturbing. This can stimulate wakefulness. Dr. Meadows believes that people start panicking because they are still awake, and this triggers their minds to start racing. At this point, falling asleep is nearly impossible. This condition is called psychophysiological insomnia.
Psychophysiological Insomnia Defined
The term psychophysiological insomnia is the act of worrying about not being able to fall asleep, which is actually what keeps people awake.
Dr. Meadows maintains that psychophysiological insomnia is present in most cases of Sunday night insomnia. He also believes that the weekend sleep schedule has a lot to do with why people cannot fall asleep on Sunday nights. Dr. Meadows is not the only sleep expert who holds this opinion.
Professor Adrian Williams of the London Sleep Center treats 1,000 patients a year, and he agrees with Dr. Meadows. He believes that if you have been rising later for the prior two mornings of the weekend, it’s quite logical that you won’t be tired when you need to go to sleep on Sunday night. Williams supports the circadian rhythm/biological clock theory, which we’ve discussed previously here on the Alarm Clock Blog. He maintains that humans have an internal clock that sets the time for sleep. This clock can be dependent on the number of hours we have been awake. Williams maintains that the correct wake/sleep ratio is 16 hours of being awake to eight hours of sleep. This means that if you got up at noon on Sunday, your body will not be ready to sleep at your regularly scheduled bedtime.
Fortunately, it only takes one day to repair your biological clock. Most people collapse on Monday nights because they did not get enough sleep the night before. This usually resets the biological clock. However, the cycle may wind up repeating itself with the arrival of the coming weekend. Continuing this cycle can cause problems for those who have to be alert on Monday mornings.
Unfortunately, the effects of Sunday night insomnia can result in a loss of concentration and an overall feeling of irritability. This usually causes people to despise Mondays. To help those of you who are struggling with Sunday night sleep problems, we have provided you with a few remedies to improve your weekend sleep schedule.
How to Create a Change in Your Sleep Schedule
1. Bedroom Flexibility
While there is a great deal of advice recommending that you reserve your bed strictly for sleep and sex, adhering to this advice never actually works. Enjoy reading and eating your breakfast in bed, but respect it as a place of rest by not bringing anything associated with stress inside of your bedroom.
2. Get Up Early
Even if you’ve stayed up late the night before, get up as close to your usual weekday waking time as possible on Sundays. You will probably be tired during the day, but your body will be quite ready for sleep that night. According to Dr. Meadows, it’s the only way you can quickly recover from the disruption of your sleep schedule.
3. Avoid Alcohol and Reduce the Intake of Caffeine
If you drink, don’t do it on Sunday. Just a couple of drinks can affect your sleep schedule. Additionally, you should avoid drinking coffee or tea after lunch.
4. Stop Dreading Sleeplessness
Worrying about not being able to sleep actually ensures that you won’t sleep. Try to avoid thinking about the fact that you cannot sleep. Don’t let your mind wander and race through worrisome scenarios about work or the future. Stay in the present, and try to think pleasant thoughts.
5. Do Not Get Out of Bed
Remaining still can have an enormous benefit to your body and your mind. Even if you can’t sleep, try to embrace the chance to rest. If you can’t actually, sleep, physical rest is probably the next best thing.
6. Turn Your T.V. Off Earlier
Many of the reasons that people have trouble sleeping these days can be traced back to the invention of electricity. Sleep experts say that before homes had electricity, people got more sunlight and less artificial light. Normal exposure to sunlight results in a natural sleeping/waking cycle. Once people began to brightly illuminate their homes in the evening, they started to engage in activities that kept their minds active. At first, this seemed to be a good thing, but keeping the mind too busy for too long at night can result in sleep deprivation. This is why turning off the television at least one hour before bedtime is wise. The mind stays active during the operation of these devices; they are not conducive to sleep.
We understand that these sleep remedies are easier said than done. However, if you really want to start creating solutions to Sunday night issues, you will have to make some changes. Over time, you will get used to them. You’ll find that they may help you feel refreshed on Monday mornings.
If these sleep remedies work for you, most of the people at the office may not appreciate the Monday morning cheerfulness you’ll be experiencing. After all, they didn’t get enough sleep over the weekend. This could put you in the position of being the weekend sleep guru of the office. Try not to gloat or work circles around the others at your office because they are often cranky on Monday mornings. There is no need to try the patience of grouchy coworkers.
We hope you have found our blog post to be helpful in the effort to soothe the Monday morning blues.
If you would like to share how these tips have worked for you, please don’t hesitate to leave a message for us here on our blog. We would also like to invite you to take advantage of our various alarms so that you can get to work on time. Our alarms will ensure that you wake up at precisely the right time each day.
If you can’t sleep on Sunday night, we can at least promise that you’ll hear our various alarms loud and clear on Monday morning! 🙂