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There is one night a week that is by far the worst when it comes to sleeping, and you probably won’t be surprised to hear it’s a Sunday night. The night before the dreaded Monday, not only fills us with dread, but for those who experience stress at work or school/university, it also makes us incredibly anxious to feel that Monday (and our return to our source of stress) is returning so we find sleep can elude us.

Days of the weekA recent survey was conducted by Yougov and a meditation app called Calm.com, who are built on the premise that they want to “make the world a healthier and happier place through the super power of meditation and mindfulness”, to find the worst night for sleeping for people. The survey itself involved 4,279 Americans and British people, in which a whopping 23% reported that Sunday was the worst night of week that people found to get a good night’s sleep. The second worst night was a Monday, with 8% of participants saying that they found it the night that they slept the worst.

Sunday night insomnia can be caused by many things, but the most prominent of these is job-related anxiety. Work stress comes in many forms, and can go up and down depending on what’s going on at your job at that time in question. Stresses can include upcoming meetings, worries about your commute, conflict with other employees and could even just be that you are dreading going back to work after a couple of days off, and the idea of a full day in the office makes you unhappy.

The other theory for our Sunday night sleeping woes is that the weekend simply throws off our weekly routines, so we tend to suffer from a sort of weekend jet lag when it comes to a Sunday evening. And we all know how difficult it can be to sleep when we are suffering from jet lag.

This happens because at the weekend, we tend to go out with the routine we have during the week. Our weekdays have bedtimes, we know we have to get up to work at a certain time so we know when we need to get to our beds in order to get enough sleep. However, when it comes to a Friday or Saturday night, we know that we don’t have an alarm for the next day. This can lead to later nights, alcohol and a sense of party – meaning that our routine becomes totally off-balance. You might even find that you nap over the weekend, which can interrupt sleep at night. So when it comes to Sunday our bodies have just become accustomed to a later bedtime, meaning that when we try to go to bed earlier on the Sunday night, it becomes difficult for our minds to switch off and be ready to sleep so we instead lie awake, stressing that we’re not sleeping.

So how can you address these sleep issues?

Well for the latter issue, on a heavy weekend, you can try to opt for a less outgoing one, but as most of us persist with our weekdays so we enjoy our weekends, seems redundant. Instead try to make your weekend as close to your normal routine as possible by getting up at similar times and not napping.

For the former theory, it’s important that you tackle the cause of your anxiety head on. True, it’s normal to experience some anxiety from time to time at work, however, when you’re experiencing the same anxiety and dread every Sunday (or indeed weeknight) then it’s important that you evaluate the cause of this stress and try to distance yourself from it. If it gets particularly bad you should contact your GP or consider changing your job. 

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