Why Is It Harder to Fall Back to Sleep When You Don’t Have Any Obligations? Here’s What People Said.

You’ve been there before: your alarm is set for 6:30 am for work and you wake up out of nowhere at 3:15…

You breathe a sigh of relief and immediately fall back asleep for another few hours before your workday starts.

But you’ve also been HERE: you got nothing going on, it’s Saturday, you wake up at 4:30 am and you can’t fall back asleep no matter what you do…bummer!

Do you think it’s harder to fall back to sleep when you don’t have to actually do anything like go to work or school?

Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.

1. Alert!

“I think it has something to do with the alertness of your brain. If it knows the alarm is coming, it’s easy to stay shut off. If I wake early on a free day, I usually feel rested and like I’ve woken up naturally.

Or maybe it’s coincidence and you don’t really remember the times you went back to sleep easily on a free day right now, because they didn’t feel as special and falling back asleep when you woke before your alarm does feel like extra sleep somehow.”

2. Do it!

“This is why it’s important to go to bed at the right time.

I try and make sure my sleep is in multiples of 90 minutes (6 hours, 7:30 hours, etc) with an extra 15 minutes for falling asleep in.”

3. No more alarms.

“This is why i don’t have an alarm anymore. Wake up early, well rested and alert.

This is coming from someone who used to have like 6 alarms at 11 minute intervals and hit the.snooze on all of them.

As a bonus I don’t sleep in on weekends ever, even when hungover.”

4. Might be right.

“I think it’s anxiety. Sleep is so tempting and easy to fall into when you’re depressed or anxious.

I’m a manager at work and I notice when someone texts me after hours with a work-related problem and I’m already relaxing, I immediately get tired and want to fall asleep. I have a history of social anxiety and I’ve noticed that this is a very obvious defense mechanism.

Just fall asleep and the anxiety stops. Once you’ve mulled over it through feverish nightmares for a few hours, the reality doesn’t seem so bad.

So I might be projecting but I feel like everybody uses sleep as a coping strategy for stress – especially social anxiety – from time to time. And it’s not really that easy to notice you’re doing it until it becomes a problem. Basically just the temptation to hide from the world.”

5. I agree.

“Because you don’t want to go to work so the idea of going back to sleep is more attractive.

It actually works sometimes for me if I can’t sleep to imagine I’m in a situation I would want to sleep, like in the morning or in a meeting.”

6. What phase are you in?

“Probably to do with what phase of your sleep you wake up in.

If you set an alarm most likely you’re being pulled out of the ‘wrong’ sleep phase, which leaves you groggy and tired.

If you have an off day and you wake up, you woke up naturally and in the ‘correct’ sleep phase, which leaves you feeling refreshed and energetic.

I don’t know exactly which phase is the ‘right’ one to wake up in, rem or light sleep probably.”

7. Found the answer.

“I have wondered the same thing and I think I found the answer.

Knowing you have to go to work, the night before you probably get s**tty and inefficient sleep.

When you don’t have work the next day, you probably slept through the night like a baby

I think there is a level of anxiety the night before when you anticipate your next day being a work day.

Therefo, you wake up tired on work days and we’ll energized on non-working days.”

8. Unpleasant business.

“I think it has to do with the unpleasantness associated with work/school etc which makes us more eager to get back to sleep (and away from the unpleasantness).

We also tend to have good feelings about waking up when great things are planned for the morning, even if they are at work.”

9. Up to you.

“It’s choice.

You don’t want to wake up, but you’re being forced to, so you rebel a little. Your subconscious makes up a micro excuse, “I can sleep for 5 more minutes, it’ll be fine.”, and since you want it to be true, your conscious mind doesn’t fight the faulty logic, 5 more minutes won’t make you feel more rested but it will make you late.

When you aren’t being forced to wake up, though, your subconscious doesn’t feel the need to create imaginary justifications for extra sleep, so you don’t create compelling motivation to do so past “I guess it would be nice”, which your brain doesn’t really care about.”

10. Adrenaline kicking in.

“You don’t want to be tired all day for work.

You can’t nap.

And you probably have some adrenaline realizing it’s your day off.”

11. Doesn’t sound weird at all.

“May sound weird, but maybe in the second case one often ends up trying too hard to sleep just so that they don’t lose out on some quality sleep time, thereby getting worked up, annoyed, overly conscious!

I’ve had sleep issues all my life and the more I chase sleep, the more I find it evading me. Backwards law, maybe? Desperation and helplessness really get hold of me.”

12. Sleep cycle.

“I believe it has to do with your sleep cycle. If you wake up naturally, even early, you are waking up during the proper point in the cycle.

Maybe one out of 100 times will your alarm wake you up at that point.

More often than not it wakes you up at the wrong point in the cycle and your brain is groggy because of it.”

Do you find it hard to go back to sleep if you have absolutely nothing going on?

Talk to us in the comments and sound off.

Thanks a lot!