No matter how much you love your job, nothing beats the feeling of freedom. Nothing. So, it makes sense that Sunday, the end of our all-too-brief weekly fling with the living of actual life, brings with it a sense of dread and anxiety. For one, we’re saying goodbye to good times. Secondly, we may be stressed about what the workweek holds. Also, sometimes we’re hungover. All these factors combined make for a rough night, and new research shows that of all days, Sunday is by far the worst in terms of sleep. Here, how to buck the trend and dream peacefully as you head into your week.
Here's How To Take Back Your Sunday Night
Good luck with this one! We don't know about you, but our one great joy in life is sleeping until we wake up without an alarm on the weekend. However, if you want to optimize your sleep on Sunday night, it's best to maintain your weekday sleep schedule through the weekend.
If you need to wake up at your regularly scheduled time on Saturday and Sunday, it follows that you need to go to bed at the same time as you do on weekdays. We get that this is basically impossible, but you don't need to stay up until 4am just because you can. Aim to get to bed at an hour that allows you to wake up early without totally wrecking you in the process.
We're like the fun police right now, aren't we? The thing is, alcohol inhibits REM sleep, which is the most restorative type of slumber. It also activates something called alpha activity, which shouldn't normally happen while you're snoozing. Finally, it inhibits ADH (antidiuretic hormone), which makes you have to get up to go the restroom more frequently throughout the night.
Embarrassing confession? We feel exactly no shame in lying in bed all day on a Sunday watching movies, eating takeout and just generally feeling calm and—for once in our lives—not busy. That said, this is not a recommended course of action if you're hoping for restful sleep later in the night. If you can't manage much else, even a walk will suffice, and if you absolutely must curl up with a book or your favorite TV show in order to feel as though you're living your best life, do so in a chair or on a couch rather than in bed.
We've said it a million times, but it's always worth repeating—meditation decreases anxiety and increases sleep quality. We suggest you do it twice on Sunday, once in the morning and once in the evening. We also recommend trying the Sleep Stories—adult bedtime stories—from meditation company Calm, especially if you tend to let the TV babysit you to sleep most nights.
If most of what keeps you up on Sunday night seems related to the fact that you dread going to work, it might be helpful to make a weekly practice of writing down all the reasons why you're grateful for your job. Examples include your paycheck, obviously, but can extend to big things like the friendship of your co-workers and to little things like free coffee.
Crashing on a Sunday night amid disaster is a recipe for disaster. Falling asleep in fresh sheets with your other laundry done and folded and your house tidy and organized is a whole different ball game, however. Read all about the health (and sleep) benefits of a clean home here. Bonus: The act of cleaning doubles as a distraction from anxious thoughts.
Snuggling with someone releases oxytocin, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. If you don't have a someone to cuddle (sadface), worry not—you can get the same stress reduction from a cat or other snuggly pet.