Sunday nights are the worst. Sure, there’s a certain fantasy epic that airs and, in all likelihood, you indulged in some sort of fatty cheat day treat. But no matter how relaxing a day you had, sleep is hard to achieve. You lay in bed, eyes open, unable to wind down. Eventually your mind starts to wander and, after you’ve exhausted the finer points of the hour long dragon-saga you watched earlier, the Monday dreads scuttle in. Soon, it’s 3 o’clock and you’re still thinking about towering to-do lists and unmet appointments. Morning comes and your week begins in a groggy haze. Wheee!
It doesn’t have to be this way. We went to the experts and devised a few simple tweaks to your weekend schedule, you can enjoy that sweet Thursday-style sleep on Sunday nights and start your week as energized as possible. Excelsior!
1. Stabilize your sleep schedule.
Okay, so the biggest problem with the weekends is that they allow you to achieve more sleep than normal. It’s not uncommon to sleep 5-6 hours a night during the week and 10-11 hours on the weekend. Insomnia specialist Dr. Steve Orma says this type of sleeping develops at an early age, when parents set bedtimes on school nights but not on weekend (thanks mom). Over the years, we maintain this schedule. So, per Dr. Orma, you should wake up no more than two hours after your standard weekday wakeup time. Although you might be tired during the day, establishing a more regular sleep schedule will make you feel considerably better in the long term.’
2. Go easy on the drinks
Yeah, we know: it’s the freakin’ weekend. And that’s fine. But if you’re pounding vodka sodas on Friday night, don’t expect to be fine by Sunday. Drinking a lot is very, very bad for your sleep. Alcohol messes with deep sleep and REM, the two most important phases of sleep. Once the alcohol wears off, your sleep becomes lighter and you’re more easily awakened– thus the 7:00 a.m. hungover wakeup.
3. Cut back on the caffeine
If you drink coffee every day of the week, eliminating it completely on the weekend could make life rather difficult. At the same time, drinking your normal dose after waking up late on Sunday could make falling asleep that night even tougher. Dr. Orma prescribes only as much caffeine as you need to not feel like a complete zombie.
4. No napping.
Lazy Sundays and naps are as great a pair as Seth Rogan and his back trimmer. Unfortunately, when it comes to your sleep cycle, Sunday is the absolute worst day of the week to snooze during daylight. After going to bed late on Friday and Saturday nights, your sleep cycle has begun to shift to be more nocturnal. Cralle and Brown say sleeping during the day will only reinforce that pattern. If you do need to nap, then make it a brief one: short naps (30 minutes or under) are less likely to damage your cycle.
5. Make a list.
List making: Not a fun activity. Bu according to Terry Cralle and Dr. David Brown of the Better Sleep Council, it’s a great way to deal with impending work stress. So, jot downeverything that’s on your mind, which will helps take the issues out of your head, so you’re not endlessly going over them as you try to fall asleep. To compartmentalize your stress, it’s important to make the list a few hours before bedtime, and leave it outside of your bedroom. Interestingly, a very different type of list could also be a big help. Research indicates that grateful people sleep better, so Cralle and Brown recommend writing down everything in your life that makes you feel grateful.
6. Go to bed when you feel like it.
Listen to your body. If you’re not sleepy by the time you usually turn in on weeknight, just stay up. “You may be a little tired the next day, but it’s is better than staring at the ceiling and getting frustrated,” says Dr. Brown. This will only build on any Sunday night anxiety you already have. If you go to bed at your normal time on Monday, you’ll be right back on track.