How to Hack Your Weekend Sleep Schedule so You're Not Tired Come Monday

When Friday rolls around it’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders – it’s time to pour that glass of wine, relax and sleep in for the next two mornings. 

Saturday is spent hanging with friends and family, but just as you’re easing into a more relaxed state, the Sunday scaries creep in and you start to stress about the onslaught of chores you need to get done that week. The next thing you know you’re waking up the next morning feeling exhausted and even lethargic – it’s a case of the ‘Monday blues’. Again. 

It’s the age-old questions of ‘why do I feel exhausted every Monday?’ ‘Why am I so unproductive?’ And ‘how can I stop feeling like this every week?’

To help you out, we turned to Australia's top sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, to answer all your questions so you can finally kickstart the week ahead feeling as energized as ever before. 

Why do I feel exhausted on Monday?

Let’s not beat around the bush – unfortunately, weekends aren’t an excuse to sleep in or change your sleep schedule.

Evidence shows for those delaying sleep over the weekend 60 per cent have poor sleep quality, 74 per cent experience disturbed sleep and 67 per cent believe their sleep impairs their daily functioning during the week,” Arezzolo explains. 

It’s not just a small sleep-in you need to forego, either; even the smallest sleep-in can affect make you feel sluggish, stressed and tense every time Monday rolls around. 

“Say, for example, you're usually up by 6.30am during the week, then sleep in till 8.30am on a Sunday. This pushes back your circadian rhythm by 45 minutes,” Arezzolo says.   

“This means that if your usual bedtime is 10pm, you won’t be sleepy until 10.45pm, and therefore will stay awake later and delay melatonin synthesis.”

Because of this delay, your melatonin levels are higher the next morning, explaining why you feel so fatigued.

How can I be more energetic on Mondays?

OK, so you know sleeping in on the weekends is the cause of your dreaded Monday blues, but aren’t weekends all about relaxing and catching up on lost sleep? How can you relax and regain energy when you still have that annoying alarm blasting off at the same time it does during the week?

You could take a quick 20-minute power nap on Sunday – just ensure you do this around lunchtime as research shows naps too close to bedtime slows down wave sleep and reduce sleep efficiency. For a full guide on how to properly take a day nap, head here.

But it all comes down to following a bedtime routine that supports melatonin synthesis and enables you to fall asleep faster. Here, Arezzolo shares a signature bedtime routine her clients use to improve their sleep within seven days or less. 

7-step bedtime routine for a perfect night's sleep

1. Block out blue light

A study found bright household light delayed melatonin onset by just over one hour. If this occurs in your home, this means you’ll be more alert in the evening, and struggle to fall asleep.

2. Diffuse lavender 

A clinical trial found lavender improved sleep quality by 45 per cent and reduced anxiety by 59 per cent, which may be felt as evening restlessness or an inability to switch off.

3. Have a 'goodnight phone alarm'

Research shows using a phone in the last hour before bed equates to a 35 per cent higher likelihood of losing two or more hours of sleep, and a 48 per cent greater likelihood to take over one hour to fall asleep.

4. Have a shower or bath

This promotes melatonin onset – the key to you feeling sleepy and quickly going into slow-wave sleep

5. Have a magnesium-based sleep supplement

Clinical trials found just four weeks of magnesium reduced anxiety by 31 per cent – often the reason we can’t fall asleep.

6. Meditate or read

A recent trial found those meditating were able to fall asleep 31 minutes faster (from 41 minutes to 10 minutes), increase sleep efficiency from 31 per cent to 70 per cent, and spend 54 minutes more time asleep through the night (instead of awake).

7. Use an eye mask

This can protect you from sleep-sabotaging blue light when you sleep.

Olivia Arezzolo is a Sleep Expert who holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology, Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); and Certificate of Fitness III + IV. Sign up to her sleep e-course here and follow her on Instagram @oliviaarezzolo.

Do you suffer with insomnia or sleepwalking issues? One writer shares the 9 things that helped her overcome both of these issues in a few months. 

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