We’re all familiar with the Sunday night blues, but when the end of the weekend makes you feel anxious it can really interrupt your sleep. Here, Phil Lawlor, Sleep Expert from mattress specialist Dormeo shares his tips for easing your Sunday night anxiety and getting a more restful night.
We’ve all been there: sat on the sofa on a Sunday, dreading going to bed and waking up to another working week. In fact, this feeling has recently been investigated, and dubbed “Sunday night fear”, with a study by HRreview revealing that two out of three Brits suffer with this feeling of doom at the end of the weekend.
And, while this is clearly a common experience, for some, it can have drastic effects, particularly on sleep quality and quantity. Whether it’s your extensive to-do list that’s keeping you tossing and turning, or something else, there are ways to manage the Sunday night blues and anxiety. Here, I will be sharing my top tips for winding down and getting in the right frame of mind to tackle the week ahead.
Plan for the week to beat the Sunday night blues
One of the most common signs of stress is restlessness, and when you spend your Sunday fretting about what’s on your to-do list for the week ahead, it’s bound to send your mind racing which in turn keeps you awake.
The best way to tackle stress about impending deadlines is to plan ahead for the week. Writing this down on paper can sometimes be more effective as you can visibly see the jobs you need to do and devise a suitable strategy and time to complete each. This will also put you at ease as you’ll feel less likely to forget to do something that’s been playing on your mind if it’s written down. If you can’t do any planning for work-related stressors, preparing or organising other aspects in your life can help you to feel more on top of things, which will make you feel calmer and therefore more likely to get a better Sunday night’s snooze.
But, if you feel like your job is bringing you too much stress and having a more recurrent and profound effect on your sleep, it may be time to consider a new job. This includes job search sites like Zoek which has the option to search with your CV to find the perfect job to match your skills.
Develop good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to a set of practices that improve your night-time sleep and improve your alertness throughout the day, which in turn will ensure you can carry out your duties to the best of your ability. And, one of the most important elements of sleep hygiene is spending the right amount of time in bed.
While Sundays are renowned for being the day of rest, it’s important that you don’t overdo the ‘lazy Sunday’. Resting for an extra hour or two to catch up on lost sleep is perfectly fine, but try not to take naps as these could result in oversleeping, making it harder for you to sleep at night. If you do take a nap, limit it to 30 minutes.
You should also ensure your sleeping environment each night is right. The ideal temperature in your bedroom will be between 16—18°C, so adjust any radiators or open windows to achieve this optimum. You’ll also need to make sure that your bed is comfortable, which includes checking that your mattress feels supportive, as well as ensuring the duvet tog you have is warm or cool enough for you and the pillows support your head correctly. If you wake up with any aches and pains after sleeping, it’s likely that one of these elements need replacing.
Use relaxation techniques
Sunday night anxiety can make it difficult for you to focus on little else, so introducing some relaxation techniques into your Sunday night routine may be useful. These useful activities can help you to calm both your mind and body.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, doing breathing exercises — whether you’re already in bed, or simply just feel panicked during your Sunday evening — can help you to feel more relaxed. This involves closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing pattern, feeling the tension leaving your body when you breathe out. If you begin to feel worry creeping in, let it go and redirect your focus to your breathing.
Mindfulness is also incredibly useful for helping us to acknowledging the present, moving on from the past and not worrying about the future, however near or far away that may be. And, as there are plenty of books or apps to help with this, you’re sure to find something to suit your way of doing things.
Get some exercise in
Exercise is also great for relaxing you as it produces endorphins — chemicals that act as painkillers for your brain — easing low mood or stress and helping you to sleep better. So, it’s important that you get yourself out and about on a Sunday.
Whether you choose to do some low-intensity exercise like walking the dog or doing some yoga, or you prefer to do something higher-intensity like a tough gym class, ensuring you get your body working can help you to relieve any tension, distract your mind from your stress, and make you feel sleepier come night time.
Avoid heavy foods and drinking on an evening
We all tend to have a cheat weekend, enjoying delicious meals and having a tipple or two along the way but, carrying this on late into your Sunday evening can have a negative effect on your sleep. Heavy, rich foods will sit in your stomach for longer and your body will be too occupied with trying to break these down, to allow you to rest. Similarly, eating acidic or spicy foods can cause heartburn and indigestion, and this discomfort in turn will keep you tossing and turning into the night. So, think about trading your Sunday night takeout in for a healthy homemade roast dinner that’s filled with nutritious vegetables and all of the essential food groups.
Similarly, while you might think it’s a good idea to have a little nightcap to make you sleepy, it’s worth noting that alcohol can interfere with your sleep cycle. Plus, any liquids in excess can result in frequent bathroom trips through the night, leading to a more disturbed sleep.
Beating the Sunday night blues is important for starting the next week on a high note. So, if you are kept awake by worry at the end of the weekend, follow my top five tips to sleep yourself to a calmer, more refreshed version of yourself.
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