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What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

If You Often Find Yourself Still Awake at 5 am, You Might be Experiencing Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

So many people work long hours during the day, then spend their evenings lounging on the couch watching TV and scrolling through social media. Some, even find themselves working out late at night as a way to feel that they’re doing something other than just working.

First described in several studies published in 2014, such as Bedtime procrastination: introducing a new area of procrastination (Kroese et al., 2014), the phenomenon of Bedtime Procrastination represents individuals who procrastinate going to bed by engaging in activities they cannot perform during the day due to strict work hours. Basically, they sacrifice sleep for entertainment.

Bedtime procrastination was initially observed in people who had 12-hour workdays who would then stay up late as a way to seize control of their entertainment. And, it was Journalist Daphne K. Lee who popularized the term after she tweeted about the phenomenon when she learned more about it.

Revenge bedtime procrastination primarily affects people with high-stress jobs or parents overwhelmed with work, children and household duties, who have little time for themselves during the day. 

Bedtime Procrastination GraphicOur minds usually frame the activity as just a couple of minutes watching a video or watching that last episode of a TV series you’ve been binging. These couple of minutes or extra episodes add up, and suddenly, revenge bedtime procrastinators find themselves watching the sunrise without having gotten any sleep. It also seems to affect people who work from home, as the line between work and rest is blurred.

To avoid confusion with other diagnoses, it’s important to clarify that solely staying up late or having trouble sleeping aren’t signs of bedtime procrastination. The individual must actively avoid sleep, be fully aware of its consequences, and use this time to engage in energy-intensive activities, hobbies or even scrolling on social media.

So, how can you treat revenge bedtime procrastination? Make sleep your priority and avoid watching bright screens for at least an hour before sleeping. Try to disconnect from social media nearing the time for bed. Being more self-aware about revenge bedtime procrastination is helpful, as we start noticing patterns of behaviour that we can stop with enough willpower. Finally, schedule a designated space for “me time” often. It could be a break after work or on the weekend.

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