The Boomtown Rats should have written a follow-up to I don’t like Mondays called I don’t like Sunday nights.
It’s no coincidence that on Monday morning so many people complain about their crappy night’s sleep.
Maybe because the end of the weekend sometimes feels like it’s the end of the world.
Sundays and the anticipation of whatever lies in your week ahead can stir up anxiety, the symptoms of which are far from helpful for falling asleep…and staying asleep.
Here are 10 things you can try to have a smooth sailing and an extended visit to the Land of Nod on a Sunday night:
- If you need to review your week ahead and do a bit of scheduling, do it Sunday afternoon, not right before bed. If you are the type of person that needs to be well organized, if you don’t do this ahead of time, the chattering in your head will keep you awake and because you are tired, much of that chatter will not be great quality. This will frustrate you and keep you up further creating an ugly cycle.
- Routine. Routine. Routine. Our brains crave routine so adopt a bedtime routine for instance, like reading. If you read before you go to sleep every night, your brain will come to understand that after reading, comes sleep. If you take a bath before you settle down to bed, your brain will come to understand that after said bath it's time for your body to start shutting down for sleep.
- Wash your hair, choose your clothes and make lunches for Monday on Sunday evening so you needn’t think about any of this as you fall asleep. Making lunch eats up a lot of precious time in the morning because you are likely multi-tasking and not doing anything that efficiently.
- Don’t worry alone! From worrying comes stress and anxiety. Huge reasons why sleep is hindered. I heard this bit about worrying on MarieTV as presented by Marie Forleo’s guest Dr. Ned Hallowell. It resonated so much for me, I really wanted to share it with you. He says, “Never worry alone. Get the facts, because toxic worry is usually rooted in wrong information or lack of information or both. Worry alone and the worry tends to become toxic. You awfulize, you globalize, you get paralyzed. You hunker down, you withdraw, you disconnect. When you’re worrying with someone, you problem solve. And next thing you know you’re laughing - and it wasn’t a worry at all.” The entire video is definitely worth a watch.
- Meditation. There are some awesome meditation apps out there that you can listen to before bed to help clear your mind and end the chatter in your head. 15 minutes can often do the trick. Here’s a list of the top meditation apps of the year.
- DO NOT check your work email after dinnertime! OK, I know that’s impossible, how about not after 7:30 pm? Email content will get you roused up and opposite of ready for sleep, not to mention the backlit screens that are emitting blue, stimulating light. Unless you are in a deadline situation and/or your career depends on some deliverable, emails can wait until the morning. This goes without saying for all nights of the week. It can and should be done!
- Take a bath about a half hour-hour before bed with some soaking salts. If you don’t already know my philosophy on baths and the benefits of magnesium in different soaking salts, take a look here.
- Yoga postures. Certain yoga postures are extremely restorative and can help with insomnia like these. I also surveyed my favourite yoga spots and the yogis there. JP Tamblyn of Ahimsa, Emily at 889Yoga and Moksha Yoga all recommended Viparita Karani (legs up against the wall) and JP also said there are some great Pranayama examples as well.
- Meatmares, meat sweats and timing your consumption of meat. While the idea of eating a wonderful Sunday night roast is a dreamy way to end the weekend for some, digesting a big hunk ‘o meat takes a lot of work and up to 6 hours. Some people wake up sweating or from stomach cramps – all from digesting said hunk ‘o meat. It’s harder for your body to digest food when the body is not active. If you want that big meal on Sunday nights, eat dinner on the early side and let your body digest before it rests. Go for a big walk after dinner. I found the most bizarre and somewhat unnerving post on further reasons for waking up in a sweat after consuming meat from the POV of the folks at Epic Mealtime. It’s very, um…meaty stuff.
- S squared. It’s been said a million times. The bed should be reserved for two things: sex and sleep. If you watch TV in bed, this can be as stimulating to the nervous system as looking at a computer screen due to content and/or from the blue light emissions. Check out this interesting link on LED screens and blue-light emissions.
- Had to add one more! Experiment with essential oils. Use them in a diffuser, on a cotton pad, in your bath or by using a pre-blended formulation like Settle. Essential oils that are known to relax and calm the central nervous system, that can help you drift off to sleep include Roman chamomile, Melissa, Clary sage, Lemongrass and Lavender. You don’t need a lot! Essential oils are very robust. Using too much can do the opposite of helping you calm down so please follow the instructions on any essential oil-based products - or any products for that matter - that you use to self-treat.
Aromatherapy is a supportive modality, it’s not a cure. And all of the above are suggestions are meant to be preventative. The bottom line is that if you are truly having an awful bout of insomnia, it quickly becomes difficult to function and think clearly and you can feel out of control. Please see your doctor if you feel helpless. You may need something prescribed for a week or two to get you back on track.
Sleep is when our body and mind, including memory, restores. Make sure you do what it takes to get a good night's sleep for long term health and vitality.
Sleep well tonight,