Medically reviewed by
Dacelin St Martin, MD
Triple board-certified in Sleep Medicine,
Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics.
In today’s fast-paced and demanding society, many people battle to combine their job responsibilities, personal lives, and leisure activities.
Because of this frantic lifestyle, individuals sometimes sacrifice their precious “shut-eye” time for some feel-good moments or leisure.
This concept of postponing sleep to engage in pleasurable activities, motivated by a shortage of downtime throughout the day, is called ” revenge bedtime procrastination.”
Understanding Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
Although the concept of sleep procrastination has been studied by scientists for quite some time, the term “revenge bedtime procrastination” is a relatively recent addition to sleep medicine.
This term is believed to have roots in a Chinese expression that conveys annoyance at lengthy, exhausting work hours that leave little time for personal enjoyment.
In this sense, bedtime procrastination is viewed as “revenge” for having little or no free time throughout the day.
Experts believe that individuals who put off going to bed when due and instead engage in some feel-good activity know they need to get enough sleep and usually desire to do so, but they cannot achieve this goal. This phenomenon is described as an intention-behavior discrepancy.
Some sleep experts have suggested that a lack of self-control may be blamed for this discrepancy.
The fact that one’s willpower is weakest in the evening may make it easier to put off going to bed.
On the other hand, other scientists have suggested that sleep procrastination may happen when people who are “night owls” (people who are biologically wired to stay up at night and sleep later in the day) are expected to follow a schedule more typical of “early birds.”These individuals may struggle to get some shut-eye at night.
Furthermore, sacrificing sleep for recreational time may also be viewed as an attempt to find much-needed recuperation time in response to stress by people with hectic work schedules.
What are the Signs?
Not everyone who stays up late does it as a form of vengeful sleep procrastination. According to the studies, revenge sleep procrastination has three main characteristics, including:
● The delay in falling asleep must reduce one’s total sleep duration per night.
● There must be no other explanation for the delay in falling asleep, such as illness or an external factor.
● Individuals who engage in this behavior understand that it may have negative repercussions, but they continue to do so anyway.
Bedtime procrastination could manifest in several ways. For instance, some people put off getting into bed until later in the evening.
Others may lengthen the time they spend attempting to fall asleep once in bed, a condition linked to increased rates of electronic device usage in bed.
Both types of sleep postponement can harm how much sleep a person gets each night.
Who is Most Affected?
Sleep experts are still determining which group of people is affected chiefly by revenge sleep procrastination, as research on this phenomenon is still in its infancy.
However, a recent Polish study discovered that college students and women are more prone to postponing sleep.
Also, experts have suggested that people with the evening sleep chronotype are more likely to put off going to bed until late.
Moreso, typical procrastinators tend to be more prone to postpone their sleep.
Studies have shown that procrastinating on sleep as a kind of “revenge” appears to be linked to high-stress levels during the day.
What are the Consequences?
Occasionally staying up late is unlikely to significantly impact one’s health or overall well-being.
However, frequently postponing one’s sleep time can have harmful consequences.
For instance, delaying going to bed might disrupt one’s sleep schedule and cause sleep deprivation. Sleep loss prevents the brain and body from recovering from the stress of day-to-day activities.
Sleep deprivation impairs one’s ability to think, remember, and make choices. Also, daytime drowsiness, brought on by sleep loss, harms productivity and academic success.
Furthermore, many studies have linked chronic sleep deprivation to mental and physical health problems like anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
It is crucial to note that the consequences of insufficient sleep might manifest rapidly or accumulate over time, eventually leading to severe and chronic health issues.
Also, the effects of sleep loss may be considerably more concerning when combined with sleep procrastination.
Sleep loss has been related to impaired self-regulation and impulse control. So, sleep procrastination may contribute to a self-perpetuating downward spiral, leading to even less sleep and worse health.
Addressing revenge bedtime procrastination requires consciously prioritizing sleep and managing time more effectively.
If sleep procrastination is an issue for you, consider the following tips:
● Make Sleep a Top Priority: It’s the very first thing to do if you are dealing with sleep procrastination; prioritize sleep. Remind yourself why it’s essential to go to bed on time. When you are better rested, you’ll have the energy to do your leisure and work-related activities.
● Set a Sleep Schedule: Create a consistent nap time by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
● Create a Bedtime Routine: Develop a soothing bedtime habit to signal your body that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
● Limit Screen Time: Minimize the use of digital devices, like mobile phones or tabs, especially before bedtime, as the blue light emitted can disrupt sleep patterns.
● Create Boundaries: Set work and personal time limits to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Also, make time for things like exercise, meditation, or hobbies that make you feel good and help you unwind to help manage your stress.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping consistently or feel like it’s affecting your ability to function throughout the day, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
Your doctor with review your sleeping habits, diagnose any underlying sleep disorders, and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you get your sleep back on track.
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