1 in 4 adults suffer from anxiety, depression, and insomnia (aka the "Sunday Scaries") on Sunday nights
While nobody likes going from "TGIF!" to the Monday blahs, for some people, Sunday evening becomes downright torturous with dread for the coming week. If your mood worsens with every passing hour of the clock and your anxiety keeps you awake on Sunday night, you might be one of the quarter of people who suffer from "Sunday-somnia."
According to a new British survey, many people experience worry, anxiety, and fear building up as their Sunday ticks away, often culminating in a type of insomnia that only hits sufferers on the eve of the new week. This backs up a 2013 study done by Monster.com that found a full 75 percent of workers reported feeling some Sunday night anxiety. It may not sound so bad, but starting a fresh week on little or no sleep worsens the effects of anxiety, with many sufferers saying it turns into a vicious cycle of their post-weekend anxiety causing the exact things that they fear to happen. And tired workers are more likely to do poorly at work, feel more sensitive to slights and, embarrassingly, fall asleep at work, giving the appearance of slacking off. Even worse, they know the cycle will repeat in just seven days. (This timing trick can help you Be More Productive at Work in One Easy Step.)
"I don't know what it is, exactly, except that I feel all the expectations from work and family come crashing down on me on Sunday nights, every Sunday night," says Jace G., a man who suffers from this so keenly he's gone on anti-anxiety medicine to help him cope. "I often wake up just a couple hours after falling asleep and I can't go back to sleep because I keep thinking about everything I need to do tomorrow and everything that could wrong. Sometimes I worry so much I literally make myself sick and I throw up several times during the night. By Monday morning, I look like hell. My coworkers probably think I'm hungover but I'm not—I just get so worked up."
The British study authors say if your post-weekend anxiety is impacting your work performance or ability to enjoy your life, you should seek professional help. Anxiety or sleep medications are one option, but cognitive behavioral therapy has also shown good results in managing anxiety, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In addition, take steps to make your Mondays as stress-free as possible, says Mary Ellen Slayter, author of the Monster.com survey. She recommends tying up any loose ends on Friday and prepping on Sundays by getting everything ready the evening before, so you have less to worry about. (And follow these 5 Easy Ways to Start Your Day Stress-Free.)