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Sunday Night Sleep Troubles

Sunday Night Sleep Troubles


Sunday is by far the cruelest night of the week for those who have trouble sleeping, according to a new study.

Three times as many of us sleep badly on Sunday as on any other single night, according to a survey of 4,279 Americans and Britons conducted by pollsters YouGov, on behalf of us at Calm.

Monday is the next worst night for sleep trouble, named by 8% of all poll respondents, compared to three times as many (23%) identifying Sunday, while Thursday night is when fewest (2%) struggle to sleep.

“Sunday may be the day of rest but it seems the night of restlessness”, says Michael Acton Smith, co-founder of Calm, which many users rely on to help them sleep. “Thursday, in contrast, seems the true night of rest.” 

To help our users fall asleep on Sunday nights, We've launched a new “Sleep Story” or bedtime story for grown-ups called Sleepy Sunday. It comprises a soothing essay of reflections on what still makes Sundays a day apart and the perfect chance to relax, wind down, recharge. 

The biggest reason that so many people sleep badly on Sundays is that the weekend is when they throw off their normal sleep routine, says Dr Steve Orma, a clinical psychologist and insomnia specialist, who himself delivers a talk on sleep science as part of our Sleep Stories collection.

“Many people go to bed later on Friday and Saturday nights and then sleep in later on Saturday and Sunday mornings,” says Dr Orma. “So, when they go to bed on Sunday night, they’re often just not tired. And then when they can’t sleep, they start to think about why they’re not sleeping, which only makes things worse.”

By Thursday night, in contrast, most of us have got fully back into our routine and therefore sleep better on average than on any other night.

Another factor making Sunday a bad sleep night is alcohol, says Dr Orma. “On weekends, people drink more alcohol, which definitely disturbs sleep.”

Anxiety about returning to work on Monday might sometimes be a third factor, says Dr Orma. “But that’s not the main reason in most cases.”

“Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week, according to the old Frank Sinatra song”, says Alex Tew, co-founder of Calm. “But Sunday night turns out to be the most restless.”  

Difficulty sleeping is a modern epidemic, adds Tew. “It’s also one of the main reasons that people use Calm.” Our sleep stories have now been listened to over 10 million times since their launch at the end of last year.

“I sometimes have trouble sleeping on Sundays myself”, says Calm’s Michael Acton Smith. “But now I have the perfect cure – listening to our latest new Sleep Story, Sleepy Sunday. 

Top Tips For Overcoming Sunday Night Sleep Problems

by psychologist and insomnia expert, Dr Steve Orma 

1. Have a regular wake-up time

The biggest single tip is to have a consistent wake-up time – and try not to diverge too far from it on weekends. Avoid sleeping in more than, say, an hour later on weekends than during the week. So, you might get up at 8am instead of your normal 7am.

2. Cut down on alcohol

On Sundays, try to abstain from alcohol; or, at least, consume far less, like just a glass of wine.

3. Find a way to relax, wind down, drift off

If you’re worried that you might have trouble falling asleep find a way to relax, wind down and drift off. Try, indeed, listening of one of Calm’s 30+ Sleep Stories – or, best of all, its latest new Sleep Story, created for precisely this occasion – Sleepy Sunday.

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