Struggling With "Sunday Scaries"

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A third of Gen Z and Millennials struggle to fall asleep on Sunday nights

by American Academy of Sleep Medicine

A new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that having the “Sunday Scaries” may be a real phenomenon, not just Urban Dictionary slang – especially for younger generations. Survey data show that more than a quarter of respondents (26%) – including about a third of Generation Z (32%) and Millennials (34%) – always, almost always or often have a harder time falling asleep on Sunday nights compared with other nights of the week.

What keeps people up at night? In the same survey, 73% of Americans said they have lost sleep due to worries about work.

“Work-related anxiety and stress can lead to insufficient sleep, which may result in harmful health consequences. Proactively managing work-related stressors can help you achieve healthier sleep and a more successful workday,” said Dr. John Saito, sleep medicine specialist and member of the AASM’s Public Awareness Advisory Committee.

While survey data from the AASM finds that a majority (64%) of Americans are using sleeping aids like melatonin (27%) and marijuana or CBD (20%) to help them fall asleep or stay asleep at night, the healthiest way to manage sleeplessness caused by work-related stress is to practice good sleep hygiene habits.

To avoid experiencing the “Sunday Scaries,” consider adding these habits into your daily routine:

  • Prepare for the week ahead by completing tasks throughout the weekend, so you don’t feel overwhelmed on Monday morning.
  • Spread out weekly chores, such as cleaning, grocery shopping and doing laundry during the week. Don’t wait until Sunday to begin household responsibilities.
  • Take time to wind down before going to bed. Read a book, journal or take a bath to help yourself relax.
  • Unplug from electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

The AASM recommends that most adults should get at least seven hours of nightly sleep to promote optimal health. To help select an appropriate bedtime for your schedule, use the AASM’s Online Bedtime Calculator.

Download the 2022 AASM Sleep Prioritization Survey results. To learn more about the importance of healthy sleep, visit SleepEducation.org.

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About the Survey

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine commissioned an online survey of 2,010 adults in the U.S. The overall margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. Fieldwork took place between Feb. 17-24, 2022. Atomik Research is an independent market research agency.

About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the AASM advances sleep care and enhances sleep health to improve lives. The AASM has a combined membership of 11,000 accredited sleep centers and individuals, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who care for patients with sleep disorders. As the leader in the sleep field, the AASM sets standards and promotes excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research (aasm.org).

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