Four tips to help you sleep better when you have Sunday night anxiety

If you’ve ever found yourself dreading Monday morning, you know how much it can affect your ability to fall asleep.

The way we do our jobs is changing. Thanks to mobile devices and cloud technology, it’s getting harder and harder to separate your office from your home. And, even if you do leave your work at the door over the weekend, it’s often hard to leave your thoughts there too.

Many people begin to feel nervous and apprehensive for the working week ahead, leading to Sunday night anxiety that can affect your ability to fall asleep. Then, you awake Monday morning feeling bleary and unrested, which can have a knock-on effect on your concentration for the rest of the week. 

Whatever it is about your job that has got you lying awake at night, here are four tricks from Phil Lawlor, Sleep Expert at Dormeo, you can use to soothe your mind and get a good night’s sleep.

1) Plan ahead

No job is without its challenges, but sometimes our responsibilities can get overwhelming, which can affect your ability to enjoy your weekend. Even if you don’t take your work home with you, worrying about it can build throughout Saturday and Sunday and cause issues for your general health and wellbeing.

Fortunately, a bit of forward planning can help you enter the weekend with a clear head and make sleeping at night a whole lot easier. 

On Friday, try making lists of the most important tasks and the steps you need to take to overcome them on Monday morning. You’d be surprised how effective having even a basic plan of attack can be for calming your nerves. Plus, making lists can help you organise your thoughts so you’re less likely to worry things out of proportion, which we’re all guilty of from time to time.

2) Manage your nerves

If you feel your anxiety start to bubble up when you’re trying to settle down for the night, there are a few relaxation techniques you can try to keep your nerves in check. Breathing exercises are a tried and tested method for managing stress, as they can distract you as well as deliver more oxygen to your brain, helping you think more clearly.

If you want to keep busy, try tidying and decluttering your bedroom to help you relax. While doing so, see if there’s anything in your room that needs fixing or replacing.

Humans still have primal instincts to ‘nest’ and develop our homes into the safest, cosiest spaces we can, so treating yourself to some décor can help you start to think of your home as a sanctuary away from the pressures of your job. Spend some time over the weekend turning your room into the perfect place for curling up and falling asleep in, and you’ll see the difference for yourself. 

3) Develop a healthy sleep routine

Developing a healthy sleep routine is a must if you want to stop lying awake with worry all Sunday night. Our ability to fall asleep depends on our circadian rhythm, our natural sleep cycle, which is influenced by everything from sunlight to when we eat.

That’s why it’s important to stick to a particular bedtime, even on weekends. After the stresses of the working week, it’s understandable that you’d want to make the most of the weekend and stay up as late as possible on Friday and Saturday night, but you should only aim to stay up within two hours of your normal bedtime.

Your sleep routine should start a little bit earlier, though. About two hours before bed, wash and change into fresh, clean, comfortable pyjamas. Then, do an activity that relaxes you, like reading a book, meditating, or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Try to stay away from screens if you can, as the blue light they give off can make your brain think it’s daytime and throw you out of sync. If you have any work-related tasks to perform on your computer, phone, or tablet ahead of Monday, try to do them during the day. 

4) Make healthy lifestyle decisions

You probably know that we should stay away from sugary foods and caffeinated drinks in the evening, as they can cause us to become more alert when we should be winding down. But too much of any food before bed can cause us just as many problems, as our digestive systems keep us awake by processing what we’ve eaten.

That doesn’t mean you have to go to bed hungry, though – just make sure you’re eating small portions for supper rather than going to bed with a full stomach.

When we feel very anxious, it can be tempting to turn to alcohol or even cigarettes to take the edge off. While this may have a short-term effect on our stress at first, it can lead to serious health issues and, even if you do nod off easier, the quality of your sleep will be affected. So, you may find it even more difficult to get out of bed on Monday morning.

Read more sleep tips

Need more advice to help you get a good night’s sleep – on Sunday and every day? You’ll find more helpful tips in these articles:

Photo by Krishh