80 Percent of Adults Have Trouble Falling Asleep on This Day of the Week, New Study Says

Even if you’re usually a sound sleeper, it’s normal to have a restless night now…

Even if you’re usually a sound sleeper, it’s normal to have a restless night now and then. Occasional insomnia happens to us all—and if you’ve never had a hard time drifting off to dreamland, consider yourself very lucky. But if you’ve noticed that there’s one particular night of the week when you just can’t seem to nod off, you might be surprised to learn that new research says you’re far from alone.

A new study says the vast majority of adults struggle to sleep on a specific night. Read on to find out which one, and what to do if you’re among those who find themselves tossing and turning on that (or any!) night of the week.

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Whether you regularly have a hard time sleeping, or it’s only an occasional occurrence, insomnia is no fun. Not only can a lack of sleep make you feel cranky and unfocused the next day, missing out on the full seven to nine hours that the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults is bad for your health in a number of ways, including raising your risk of dementia.

The organization lists a number of common culprits for insomnia, including caffeine and alcohol use, an irregular sleep schedule, napping late in the afternoon, eating a heavy meal right before bed, and using electronic devices close to bedtime.

Certain medications can also cause sleepless nights—speak with your healthcare provider if you think this may be the case for you.

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According to a Sept. 2022 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, more than 54 percent of adults blame anxiety and stress for keeping them awake at night. That’s not too surprising, considering that anxiety can cause tension in your body, which is not conducive to rest.

“You may not even realize when you’re stressed about something, but your body can still feel the physical effects of stress, leaving muscles tensed up as a result,” the experts at Verywell Mind write. They recommend trying a method called “progressive muscle relaxation,” which involves tensing and relaxing isolated muscles in your body, to combat stress-related insomnia.

Calendar on blue background crosson Sunday with stick note SUNDAY SCARIES (Sunday blues) - feelings of intense anxiety or dread happen on day before head back to work, office or school
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You’ve probably heard of “the Sunday scaries,” but in case you’re unfamiliar, Alex Dimitriu, MD, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine and a SleepFoundation.org medical-review board member, explains: “Sunday scaries are essentially a form of performance anxiety, much like before a test or a presentation.”

For those of us who work a regular Monday through Friday schedule, Sunday evening signifies the end of our break from the office (whether that’s virtual or in person) and the looming thought of returning to our daily grind. “Part of [this] is natural, but it can also be too much, leading to stress, insomnia, and a worsened night of sleep,” says Dimitriu.

As a result, nearly 80 percent (79.5, to be exact) of survey respondents reported having more trouble falling asleep on Sunday night, when compared to other days of the week.

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Whether Sunday nights find you tossing and turning, dreading the thought of the coming week, or you have trouble sleeping on other nights of the week as well, a number of strategies may help you drift off and finally get the much-needed rest your body needs.

Healthline recommends trying calming breathing techniques, taking up meditation or yoga, lowering the temperature in your bedroom (we sleep better in cooler rooms), cutting out naps if you’re in the habit of taking them, getting plenty of exercise during the daylight hours, turning off your electronics and avoiding screens at night, and reading a book (an old-fashioned one with paper pages, not an e-book!) before bed, among others.

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and are still struggling, speak with your healthcare provider about what might be behind your insomnia, and what might help.