This Is the Worst Night of the Week for Sleep, According to Science

Updated: May 26, 2022

If you're always counting sheep on this one night of the week more than any other, you're not alone. trouble sleeping? Then it might not come as a surprise to you that Sunday is the cruelest night by far.

That’s from a survey by Yougov on behalf of, a meditation app whose stated mission is to “make the world a healthier and happier place through the super power of meditation and mindfulness.” Of 4,279 Americans and Brits polled online, a full 23 percent reported that Sunday night was the most difficult night on which to nab some shut-eye. Monday came in second with eight percent reporting the most difficulty sleeping on Monday nights.

Exactly what is it that causes Sunday night insomnia? The survey didn’t explore the reasons, but over time some experts have developed two main theories. The first is based on anxiety—or more specifically, job-related anxiety, which can come from any number of sources, including the commute, upcoming meetings, or simply the dread of having to get back into the swing of things after having had two days off.

The second basic theory is that Sunday night sleep trouble comes from what some know as weekend jet lag or Sunday-Monday jet lag, according to Urban Dictionary. As sleep expert Steve Orma, PsyD, explains, “The weekend is when [people tend to] throw off their normal…routine.” Therefore, at bedtime on Sunday night, they’re just not all that tired.

Research indicates that the best way to minimize the insomnia that anxiety produces is to address the anxiety directly. (Here are some phrases you can use to calm anxiety in the moment.) The inevitable reduction in anxiety that comes from knowing that the week is nearly over may be why’s survey shows that Thursday is the best night for sleeping, with only two percent of those polled saying they have trouble sleeping the night before Friday rolls around. To avoid weekend jet lag, one can try keeping bedtime routines consistent from week to weekend, although this may be easier said than done.

Want to sleep better no matter what day of the week? Check out these 13 secrets to better sleep doctors want you to know.

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