Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
The current business climate created a new trend that has drawn attention from the public and the press. People in high-stress jobs sacrifice a bulk of their day for efficiency and try to make up for the loss of entertainment in a rather detrimental way. Between work, cooking, running errands, walking the dogs, raising children, and other essential daily life activities, many people have little time to do things for fun and pleasure. Consequently, they tend to procrastinate during bedtime to do the things they love.
The refusal to go to bed when you should is a psychological phenomenon known as “revenge bedtime procrastination,” which describes the decision to sacrifice sleep for more pleasurable activities such as bingeing and scrolling through social media. Bedtime procrastination is a relatively new concept that came up in a study paper by Dr. Floor Kroese and colleagues from the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, published in 2014.
Dr. Kroese and her colleagues describe this procrastination as “going to bed later than intended while no external circumstances are accountable for doing so,” meaning that a person who chooses to delay bedtime without genuine reason engages in bedtime procrastination. The word “revenge” was added to the phrase, and it started appearing in China in late 2016. It was further introduced to English speakers by Daphne K. Lee. Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is a deliberate decision to stay awake past bedtime to create a “me time.” People naturally revenge on sleep almost as an act of rebellion to take back some precious time they lost to recoup on the ever-increasing demands at work and home.
Even though it is evident that sleep deprivation takes a toll on mental health, people who engage in this infamous practice want to get enough rest, but they fail to do so. This behavioral pattern is known as the intention-behavior gap. With that in mind, experts warned that insufficient sleep is a global public health epidemic. According to a global sleep survey across 12 countries with over 11,000 responses revealed that 62% of adults feel they get fewer hours of sleep than needed, averaging 6.8 hours than the 8 hours recommended by sleep experts.
People procrastinate on sleep for so many reasons, but some factors will be considered for sleep deprivation to be deemed bedtime procrastination:
- Delaying going to sleep and reducing total sleep time.
- Staying awake later than necessary for no serious reasons.
- Knowing that the delay will have a negative consequence on mental health.
Even though a study in the international journal of environmental research and public health showed that adolescents are the most apparent bedtime procrastinators, another study also showed that women and students are more likely to engage in bedtime procrastination. However, research on the sleep phenomenon is still in the early stages, and further research will reveal those most affected by it.
Reducing sleep hours as a form of revenge and retaliation is dangerous to health, and it can lead to a plethora of harmful mental and physical health issues that can affect the quality of life. Getting eight or more sleep hours refreshes the mind, and lack of it negatively affects reasoning, alertness, reaction times, and working memory. Another effect of sleep deprivation includes diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hormone-related problems, and a weaker immune system. When you deprive yourself of adequate sleep for a long time, your odds of dying early from any cause increase.
Overcoming bedtime procrastination requires healthy sleep hygiene, which involves creating a conducive sleeping environment and good sleep habits. Creating a set nighttime routine to facilitate sleep can help reduce the impulse to stay awake longer than necessary. Listed below are some examples of sleep habits you can incorporate into your daily schedule:
- Find your proper sleep and wake-up time.
- Keep electronic devices away from your reach.
- Shut down your social media and other notifications.
- Avoid taking caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol in the afternoon and evening.
- Do some yoga or meditation to help ease you into sleep.
- Skip big night meals.
Sticking to these healthy sleep habits can improve your life significantly and also improve your quality of life. Thankfully, the awareness of the inherent danger associated with bedtime procrastination is an excellent step in the right direction. If your negative sleep patterns persist, talk with a doctor who can provide a professional evaluation of your health and determine if you have a sleep disorder.
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Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors