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I Stopped Sleeping In On The Weekends – You Should Too – Here's Why

Written by: Lana Walsh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Do you suffer from the Sunday night or Monday morning blues? You know, dreading going back to work on Monday? Here’s the scenario… On Sunday, you start thinking about going back to work the next day, and that night, you think, “I should go to bed early because I have to be up early for work.” You get into bed, you toss and turn, unable to sleep, and you start to get frustrated that you can’t sleep. Then you start thinking about getting up early the next day and how tired you will be.

Maybe you start thinking about all the work you must do. Then you start to stress about it and maybe even dread it.


As you continue tossing and turning, worrying, and stressing, you start to think that maybe you don’t really like this job. Why else would Sunday night be so hard?


Perhaps it has nothing to do with your job.


Maybe neglecting your sleep during the week and sleeping in on the weekend could be the reason why.

Two sleep processes are affected by sleeping in – one in the body and one in the brain.


Keep Your Circadian Rhythm on Schedule – The Body Process


Your circadian rhythm is like a clock – it runs on a schedule. When you arise in the morning, you start to become active, bright light enters your eyes, and melatonin production is stopped. This also begins a rise in body temperature.


In the late afternoon or early evening, you hit your highest body temperature of the day (about 1–2⁰ higher). This is when you are most awake.


Then, your body temperature starts to decline. This drop in body temperature is one of the signals to the brain that you will be preparing for sleep in the next few hours.


As your body temperature drops, your drive for sleep increases. This is why it’s harder to sleep in the summer when it’s hot and it’s best to keep your room cool at night (the ideal sleeping temperature is 15–19⁰C or 60–67⁰F).


When you sleep in on the weekends, you delay this process. Your body temperature rises later, delaying the drop in temperature in the evening and making it more difficult to go to sleep early.


Build Up Adenosine – The Brain Process


You have two systems – wakefulness and sleep – and they take care of what they sound like, being awake or sleeping. Your wakefulness system is active for about 16 hours and your sleep system is active for about 8 hours.


When you are awake and active, your brain builds up adenosine, the sleep neurotransmitter that helps you go to sleep and stay asleep.


Just like with the circadian rhythm, when you sleep in on the weekends and try to go to bed early Sunday night for work the next day, you haven’t given yourself enough time awake to build up adenosine, making it more difficult to sleep that night.


When you are in bed for more than 8 hours, even if you are not sleeping the whole time, it can affect the build-up of adenosine. Always aim for about 16 hours of active, awake time (active means out of bed, but the more physically active you are, the better).


Ditch the Alarm Clock


Have you ever had a morning, where you slept well all night long, but felt terrible after the alarm woke you up?


This happens when you are woken in the middle of your sleep cycle. There are five stages of sleep, and you cycle through all of them over about 90 minutes. Throughout the night, you will have 4 – 6 cycles of sleep.


It is normal to wake up after each cycle during the night. However, you fall back asleep so quickly that you usually don’t remember you were awake.


The best time to get up is when you naturally wake at the end of this cycle. That’s when you will feel most rested. But if you use an alarm clock to rise in the morning, you have no control over where you are in your natural sleep pattern.


The goal should be to wake up naturally every day at the time you want to rise. The only way to achieve this is to set a schedule that you follow consistently every day.


To do this:


1. Decide what time you need to rise. Consider all the activities you need to do before you are required to be anywhere.


a. How long does it take to shower and get ready?

b. Do you have to get kids going for the day?

c. How long is your commute?

d. Do you want to exercise, journal, or meditate before you start the day?


2. Take the time you need to get up and back up the clock for eight hours.


3. This is your bedtime goal.


For example, if you need to be at work at 8:30 am and you like to have 30 minutes to meditate and journal, it takes you an hour to get ready, and your commute is about 30 minutes, then you need to get up by 6:30 am at the latest. To allot eight hours for sleep, you would need to go to bed (lights out and trying to sleep) by 10:30 pm.


The longer you follow this routine consistently, the more your brain and body will become accustomed to the timing, and you will begin to feel sleepy at the right time and start waking up naturally when you’ve “trained” yourself to wake up.


Managing Social Activities


When you stay up late on the weekends for social activities like going out with friends, seeing a movie, bingeing a Netflix series, or other activities, it can be hard to stay on schedule.


But it’s better to get up within 30 minutes of your regular wake time, regardless of what time you went to bed, and have a nap during the day than to sleep in, especially on Sunday morning.


Be sure to keep naps to 45 minutes or less and before 4 pm to avoid disrupting adenosine and body temperature processes.


This will help you avoid the “social jet lag” from staying up late and sleeping in which will allow you to go to sleep on Sunday night without all the tossing and turning.


Sleeping in on the weekend sounds like a good idea, especially if you’re tired from a long week, but sticking to a regular schedule is a much better strategy. It will help you get through the Sunday night – Monday morning blues and help you feel better every day of the week.


Download my free PDF, 15 Healthy Things to Do Before Bed, to help get you ready to go to sleep on schedule.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lana Walsh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lana Walsh is a Sleep Coach who helps people overcome insomnia so that they wake up feeling rested and refreshed. After a decade of dealing with undiagnosed restless leg syndrome (RLS), Lana developed chronic insomnia. For 30 years, she struggled to find the answer to her sleep, trying “literally everything” without relief. When Lana was introduced to the stress-busting process of emotional freedom techniques (EFT, AKA tapping), she started sleeping better. Determined to continue this path, she began researching sleep where she finally found the answer to fixing her insomnia. She is passionate about sharing the secrets to overcoming insomnia and helping people get the same results that have transformed her life. Lana is a co-author of the Amazon Bestseller, "Creating Impact, The Ultimate Guide for Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs," Founder of "Upgrade Your Sleep: A Powerful Method to Overcoming Sleeplessness," registered CBT-i coach, and Conscious EFT Level 1-2 practitioner.

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