Remember those childhood excuses you used to extend the length of your bedtime? “10 more minutes” and “one last episode” will be familiar lines to everyone’s youth.
Although they might or might not have worked well at the time, the unfortunate truth is that, as age has progressed, the same sleep-depriving tactics have stayed in situ, generating the onset of a very odd and equally as unhealthy phenomenon called Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.
Today we’ll be explaining exactly what this phenomenon is and how it works, why it’s really, really bad for your sleep, and some of the practical steps you can put in place so that it doesn’t happen to you.
What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
In its most basic terms, Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is the conscious act of delaying the time you go to sleep in favour of other, more engaging, more enjoyable activities.
This procrastination could be anything, from reading a book, to playing your favourite video game, to continuing on with your professional work. So where does the element of revenge come into it?
Well as it turns out, this phenomenon exists in tandem with great psychological and emotional ties. Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is primarily born from feeling out of control.
The commitments of the modern world and the regular nine to five, mixed together with the need for a balanced family life and a packed personal schedule, leave little to no time for the things we love and the things we long to do.
Essentially, your busyness is bringing you down, making you feel trapped and out of touch with the things you actually enjoy doing. To compensate for the loss during the day, these activities must take place during what might be the only quiet hour in the entire day: bedtime.
And voila, your me-time bleeds over into your bedtime, causing major disruption to the quality and amount of sleep you actually get.
Is There Anything Wrong With a Little ‘Me-Time’?
Absolutely not. In fact, doing the things you love and having enough time to truly enjoy them to full capacity is one of the healthiest drivers of mental health.
As we mentioned before, there are an endless amount of things people would rather do than engage in a packed work schedule.
This study, which was released during the height of the pandemic, cited leisure activities, socialising and eating as some of the respondents' favourite pastimes, and it’s absolutely normal, and healthy in fact, to want to make time for the things you love.
In essence, Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is generated by nothing more than a lack of time, when the only hours in the day that are available for these activities to happen are when the sun goes down.
What’s more, the phenomenon appears to have been exacerbated by the emotional trials of the pandemic, when everyone had more time at home yet felt busier and more rushed than ever.
It would be nothing but wrong for us to suggest that you try to scrap these activities entirely for the benefit of your sleep, but what we’d like to put forward, amongst our other tips, would be better time management skills.
Time management is really one of the very best ways to end the battle between your sleep and your social activities.
It’s super important that the two don’t overlap, as any form of sleep stealer will have a detrimental impact on both your physical and mental health.
Instead, try to take regular but short breaks throughout the day, and recognise these times as being moments of dedicated me-time.
The more you feel like you’ve made adequate time to enjoy the things you enjoy, the less you might be tempted to dapple in them when it’s time to sleep.
With that being said, it’s super important that when it’s time to switch off, you let your lights go out. It’s good to fit these activities in during the daylight hours, but it’s also equally as important to know when to draw the line.
How Else Can I Beat Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
Now that we’re on a roll with our solutions of how to turn this phenomenon into a phenomen-off, we’re going to be taking a closer look at how Revenge Bedtime Procrastination can be stopped dead in its tracks.
If this is something that your sleep suffers from, these are definitely the steps we’d recommend:
The things we do whilst we procrastinate actually more often than not end up making the task of getting to sleep all the more difficult.
Take for example everyone’s favourite procrastination pastime: checking your phone. Although a seemingly harmless act, digital devices actually expose your eyes to what’s known as blue light, which itself is also known as the most notorious sleep depriver of the modern age.
To rectify this issue, set yourself a media curfew, where you refrain from the use of digital devices ideally an hour or so before bedtime.
Alternatively, if you really can’t take yourself away from the influence of the screen, why not try out blue light blocking glasses. They do an extraordinary job at protecting the mind and your seep from the havoc of blue light exposure.
Recognise the Power of Rest
It’s an ironic thing that we deprive ourselves of sleep to do the things we enjoy, to then in turn suffer time constraints the following day that limit our ability to really make the most of the time we have.
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination works in a vicious cycle, whereby it sends your energy levels into a downward long-term spiral the more you engage in it.
The solution to this is again another form of time management, but more importantly, is a way to recognise the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Always and forever prioritise the benefits of sleep over the benefits of leisure, and you’ll be surprised by just how much more you enjoy the day ahead of you when your batteries are running on full power.
Throughout much of what we’ve mentioned here, we’ve considered ways to fit in the more enjoyable activities into your schedule, but now we’re going to flip the coin to confront the things that are eating away at your valuable time.
Of course it’s important to delegate and prioritise important tasks accordingly, but it is equally as important, where Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is concerned, to file out the more mundane and unnecessary tasks that are being demanded of you.
It is these tasks that are getting you down and impacting your sleep, not to mention your general quality of life. To make more time for yourself, you must detach yourself from the energy leaches that swarm your life.
Say no, and don’t be afraid to do so. Compromising your time and effort to achieve things for others is a lovely thing to do of course, but not so much when it’s eating into your free time.
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination thrives when you feel like you’ve lost control, and now is the time when you take back control, your rest and your sleep.
Unfortunately, Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is just one in the many line of things set out to vex your sleep and mental health.
We really do hope that we’ve helped bring this complicated issue to light, and it’s important to remember that you need never suffer in silence.