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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it?

Calling all my insomniacs, let’s talk about Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, it’s a fairly new term coined in 2014. But it’s never too late to learn so we’re diving into what it is, why it happens, and how to deal with it.

It’s 12 a.m and you’ve been working all day. Your eyes can barely stay open but instead of going to sleep, you start browsing Instagram and turn on a new show on Netflix. You don't know why you're staying up when your body is so desperately wanting to shut down for the day. Sound familiar? Well, this is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.

What is it?

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time. It’s a way to find some time for entertainment even though it results in insufficient sleep.

Understanding sleep procrastination, including its symptoms, causes, and consequences, can help you recognize when you’re engaging in it. Then, you can take steps to prevent bedtime procrastination from leading to insufficient sleep.

This isn’t the only kind of revenge we take out on ourselves. As COVID-19 consumes the world, consumers are “revenge spending” or “revenge traveling” after the lockdowns have been lifted.

Now more than ever, we are sabotaging ourselves for the sake of freedom, fun, and control.

In China, a national survey in 2018 showed that 60% of people born after 1990 were not getting enough sleep, and that those living in the biggest cities suffered the most.

The Consequences

Although having some time to yourself may feel worth it at the moment, it can directly lead to serious sleep deprivation. Cutting back on sleep can have significant negative effects on mental, physical, and emotional health with short- and long-term consequences.

Outside of sleep deprivation, lack of sleep degrades thinking, memory, decision-making and also raises the risk of daytime sleepiness, which can harm productivity. A lack of sleep is tied to irritability and other difficulties regulating emotions. It’s also been connected to mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Sleep deprivation worsens physical health, making people more susceptible to cardiovascular problems and metabolic disorders, like diabetes.

Why does this happen?

In short, it happens because of control. We lack so much of it during the day that we try to reclaim it all at night. People may also be having a difficult time shutting down at the end of the workday because boundaries have been blurred since the pandemic began.

How to deal?

The only way to get rid of sleep debt is to sleep the number of hours that you missed, which isn't possible for most people. If we purposely delay our bedtime despite knowing the consequences, what feels like the right advice would be to sleep, but that is unhelpful. Instead, the answer might be to first examine our life and routine to find out where we feel we are losing control of our own time.

Some other tips include:

  • have a regular wake-up time and bedtime

  • meditate

  • turn off and put away all electronic devices

  • sleep with a weighted blanket

  • make your environment cold and airy

  • snack on nuts, seeds, and pulses, which are sources of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce melatonin

  • take vitamin D and magnesium supplements, which may help induce sleep

  • stay hydrated

  • only drink caffeinated beverages in the morning

If you or someone you know is dealing with Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, utilize the resources you have around to create a better routine. It's okay to not have control over everything in life, and it's also good to remember that nothing is worth risking your health.

Are you struggling with Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? We want to hear about it, let us know in the comments below!

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