Why You Can't Sleep on Sunday Nights

If you find yourself tossing and turning on a Sunday night, you're not alone.


If you find yourself tossing and turning on a Sunday night, you're not alone. For millions of people around the world, Sunday night insomnia, Sunday-somnia or Sunday night blues is a very real problem. But why do so many of us suffer from worsened sleep-loss on Sundays?

Sunday night insomnia is caused by a heightened feeling of anxiety, dread and fear for Monday and the week to come
'Bring on the weekend' has become a popular sentiment in the modern workplace but the same isn't often said about Mondays. Sunday nights have become emblematic of looming stress; the anxiety, dread and fear that keeps us up often boils down to one thing: our jobs. According to a survey in Forbes, job anxiety is the number one culprit in keeping people awake on Sunday nights with 75% of respondents unable to sleep due to a feeling of dread about returning to the workplace on Monday morning. Another study published on BBC News found that 60% of workers experience their worst night's sleep on a Sunday. The prospect of dealing with a difficult boss, making the morning commute, and missing a work deadline were just some of the top causes of their anxiety.
We deliberately stay up later on Sunday nights to prolong the weekend
In a vain attempt to ward off Monday, we actively try to stay up longer, immersing ourselves in distracting activities like surfing the internet and watching television when we should be sleeping. This type of behaviour only heightens anxiety and disrupts your normal sleep pattern, robbing your mind and body of the restorative benefits of sleep and worsening the feeling of anxiety. Research by Rockefeller University found that there is a symbiotic relationship between anxiety and insomnia. Sleep deprivation and disruptions to your normal sleep pattern is a chronic stressor which has been attributed to memory loss, anxiety and other cognitive problems as well as serious diseases. Instead of waking up feeling refreshed and ready to start the new week, your Sunday night insomnia becomes the cause of your Monday blues. The good news is, there are ways to manage the anxiety that often surrounds your Sunday nights and help you get the sleep you need to start your week off feeling energised.
Tips for Minimising Sunday Night Insomnia and beating the Monday blues

  1. Address the cause of your anxiety head on. For instance, if you are feeling anxious about your job or a project, take some time to write down the tasks you need to tackle in the week ahead. Physically writing down the activities that might be causing you worry may help give you a greater sense of control and alleviate the feeling of dread.
  2. Avoid using electronic devices at bedtime. Science has shown that the immersive nature of online activities and the melatonin-suppressing blue light that emanates from the screen of your device has an alerting effect on your brain and can worsen sleeplessness. Read more on this here.
  3. Immerse yourself in relaxing bedtime activities such as reading, journaling, and meditation.
  4. Spend your Sunday morning or afternoon doing physical activities such as hiking or going for long, leisurely walks. Adding exercise to your routine can help you fall asleep 15 minutes earlier and sleep roughly 45 minutes longer.
  5. Keep your sleeping routines consistent all week including the weekend. For many people, staying up later and sleeping in longer on Friday and Saturday nights are the norm. But this weekend habit is disruptive to your circadian rhythm (your internal body clock which regulates your sleep patterns). Read more on this here.