The Real Reason You Can't Fall Asleep On Sunday Nights

No, you're not crazy — it really is harder to fall asleep on Sunday night.

woman having the sunday scaries Adene Sanchez / Getty Images Signature via Canva

When Friday rolls around, we just can't wait to leave work, go home, and kick back and relax for the weekend. Nothing beats that feeling of the clock hitting 5 p.m., where all the pressure from the week slowly dissipates.

But once the weekend is over and there's work the next day on Monday morning, our "Sunday scaries" start to take hold.

We may send ourselves into a panic, worrying about our long list of things to do, perhaps an anxiety-fueled presentation or client calls, or even having to see that co-worker we can't stand.


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It can be difficult to calm ourselves when the thought of going back to work is completely overwhelming. And while we may have had fun all weekend, Sundays themselves are pretty bittersweet because we know it's our last 24 hours of freedom until Monday comes.


The weekend is meant to relax and catch up on sleep we lost during the busy work-week. Unfortunately, Sunday nights may come with the inability to rest our weary heads.

There's a good chance we end up restless on Sunday night and find it difficult to fall asleep. What gives?

What are Sunday scaries?

"Sunday scaries" is a name for the phenomenon of feeling dread, anxiety, or fear about heading to work the next day.

According to a study conducted by Tune Hotels Group, being unable to fall asleep on Sunday night is actually pretty common. In fact, most people suffer from anxiety and fear on Sundays, and it negatively affects their quality of sleep.


On average, people get six-and-a-half hours of sleep on Sunday, and more than half of the population sleeps for four hours or less. That's definitely coming up short of the recommended eight hours of sleep.

What are the reasons for not getting any sleep on Sunday nights?

  • anxiety
  • worry
  • fear
  • not doing the work you were made to do
  • hostile work environment
  • feeling buried by responsibilities
  • feeling that your work isn't valued
  • work boring you
  • commuting to work

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In the study, 10% of participants couldn't sleep due to worries about traveling to work. The study also found that people who have challenging jobs, those that affect them mentally or physically, are the most sleep-deprived.


However, most of these negative feelings are work-related — meaning, people can't sleep because they dread work the next day, ultimately negatively affecting their work on Mondays.

Basically, this study shows that working individuals may be caught in a big vicious cycle.

Workers may feel well-rested after getting back into the swing of things once Monday is over, but that doesn't mean they won't experience the same sleep deficit each week.

There are physical effects of the Sunday scaries, including:

  • sweating
  • racing heart
  • headache
  • upset or queasy stomach
  • shaking or trembling

The worst part? Sunday scaries are super common. A LinkedIn survey revealed that 80% of professionals experience the Sunday Scaries, with over 90% of Millennials and Gen Z reporting they feel it every week!


So, how can we break the cycle of being sleep deprived on Monday mornings? Luckily, there are a few ways to beat the Sunday scaries and get the shut-eye you deserve.

How To Overcome Sunday Scaries

1. Catch up on sleep Friday evening.

According to the authors of the study, a possible solution to the Sunday scaries is to catch up on sleep on Friday evening before you hit the weekend.

This way, you won't be waiting until the last minute on Sunday or early morning Monday. Build your sleep bank up when you have time.

2. Try medications or sleep therapy.

Another solution, especially for those who are procrastinators, is to try sleep medications or cognitive behavioral therapy.


Take melatonin to try getting to sleep first before asking your doctor for any sleep-designed prescriptions or signing up for therapy.

3. Get a job you actually like.

Of course, another way to break the cycle is to find a job that fulfills a certain level of happiness; that way, going to work won't seem like such a bad thing after all.

If you actually like your job you won't dread going in on Monday; you may actually look forward to it. Imagine getting paid by doing something you love to do!

4. Meditate.

A meditation routine you do regularly helps build awareness and resilience. Adding meditation to your daily schedule will allow you to clearly see what is causing these "scaries," and allow you to find solutions to the issues, as well as give you strength to take on the work day ahead.


Try using guided meditations if you are a newbie to the practice.

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5. Stop negative self-talk.

Studies have shown that the way we talk to ourselves has a significant impact on our physical and mental health. So, if you negatively talk to yourself about work, your mind will consciously see work as a horrible event and something you don't want to do. You will end up dreading the work week.

Redefine how you talk to yourself. Instead of saying, "Oh no, Monday is just a few hours away," say, "Monday will be fine, you got this!"

6. Change your mindset.

One way to defeat the Sunday scaries is to change your mindset from pessimistic to optimistic. If you see Monday as this life-ending, terrible time, your mood will reflect that.


Think of Mondays as a fresh start, a redo, a way to do something good. This way, your mood will be more uplifting and positive.

7. Stick to a Sunday night routine.

Make a fun and relaxing routine for your Sunday evenings. This will occupy your brain by having something to look forward to instead of dreading the next day.

Have a soothing bubble bath and self-care regimen, or do dinner and a movie every Sunday night. Do something that you like to do that can help your mind relax before heading to bed.


8. Have a Monday morning perk.

Along with a Sunday night routine, giving yourself a Monday perk will give you something to look forward to the next day. Get yourself your favorite pastry on the way to work, or have a massage scheduled after work.

Just pick something that sparks joy in your soul and your Sunday scaries will fade away.

9. Exercise.

Exercising has been a tried and true way to release stress and anxiety. Add a fun exercise routine to your Sunday afternoons to release any built-up stress or dread about the next day.

Plus, exercising helps keep you healthy and happy, so you should be doing this anyway.

10. Learn something new.

Take Sunday to learn something new. This will keep your mind distracted so you won't have the bandwidth to worry about the next day. Do an activity you've never done before and learn about it.


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Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.