Don’t Let Sunday Nights Get You Down—or Keep You Up

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

If there were one universal soundtrack for Sunday nights, it would sound like tossing and turning. In the U.S. and beyond, Sundays tend to be the toughest nights for people to fall asleep. Why? Often it’s as simple as staying up later—and sleeping in later—on the weekends, which is sometimes called “social jetlag.” That’s right: Staying up past midnight for a couple of nights when your usual bedtime is 10:00pm can have the same effect as flying from New York to L.A. and back again. Add in stress about the upcoming workweek, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for sleeplessness. Follow these four easy pieces of advice to conquer the Sunday night blues.

  • Stick to the same bedtime on the weekends.

No one wants to miss all the after-hours fun on Friday and Saturday nights. But to minimize the effects on your usual sleep schedule, try to go to bed at the same time that you usually would during the week. If that's impossible, stay up just one of the two weekend nights, or limit yourself to staying up just an hour or two later than usual. And if you’re going to throw your usual bedtime out the window, make it an every-once-in-a-while splurge, rather than a twice-a-week hole that you can never dig yourself out of.

  • Don't Sleep In on Saturdays and Sundays.

It may sound painful, but when morning comes on weekends, try to get up within an hour or two of your usual alarm—especially on Sundays. Snoozing until noon will only make it harder to hit the sack that night. If you are still drowsy in the afternoon, take a short nap to catch up on your zzz's.

  • Have Fun.

Try planning something that you love to do each Sunday evening, whether it's cooking pizza together as a family, watching a movie, video chatting with your best friend, or playing a board game. That way, you're more likely to look forward to Sunday nights, rather than dread them!

  • Set the Stage for Sleep.

Start getting yourself ready for a good night’s sleep well before bedtime on Sunday night. Get outside to exercise early in the day, and start dimming the lights as soon as evening rolls around to help your circadian clock find its proper rhythm. Cut out nicotine and caffeine at least four to six hours before turning in since those substances can leave you wired. And limit alcohol, as well, since it can disrupt your sleep. Finally, pamper yourself pre-bed with a warm bath, a cup of tea, or a good book to help you relax.