Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Sacrificing Sleep Or Sleep Disorder? Everything You Need To Know About Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Ever feel a rebellious urge to stay up late, indulging in "just one more episode”, or a few extra minutes of scrolling, even though you very well know you should be sleeping? It’s all very reminiscent of those childhood bedtime battles.

Turns out, a similar fight might be brewing inside you right now, even if you haven't noticed. This time, the battleground is your sleep schedule, and the culprit is a phenomenon called revenge bedtime procrastination.

Many of us juggle demanding schedules and strict work-life boundaries. These constraints can leave us feeling like we have little control over our time. Enter revenge bedtime procrastination, our way of "rebelling" by staying up late to reclaim some personal time. In times like these; scrolling through social media, watching an extra episode, or catching up on reading can feel oh-so-satisfying in the moment. 

But this seemingly harmless act comes at a significant cost: our sleep health.

We've all been there, right? 

You finally drag yourself home after a long day of work and endless meetings. All you want is a little "me time" to unwind. And just like everyone else, I often find myself falling into this trap. Last week seems like a blur. Instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I found myself stuck in a late-night loop of doom scrolling on Instagram, getting hooked onto a new show, doing everything I never had time to do, i.e. basically living my best bed life (like the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) from 10 pm to 1 am. Sounds like good times, am I right?

Here's the catch: I thought this late-night fun would leave me feeling rejuvenated. But sadly - and to no one else’s surprise - the next morning was rough. I felt like a zombie all day long; completely wiped out, cranky at everyone (including myself), and unable to focus on work or the tiniest of tasks. It was the very opposite of feeling refreshed. 

Friends, readers, and lurkers, I too had fallen into this trap of revenge bedtime.

Hello, Vicious Cycle of Sleep Deprivation

The initial satisfaction of late-night activities is fleeting. Sleep deprivation, the inevitable consequence of revenge bedtime procrastination, quickly sets in, leading to:

  • Daytime fatigue: We feel sluggish, constantly drained, and struggle to find the energy to tackle the day.
  • Impacted mood and concentration: Sleep deprivation hinders our ability to regulate emotions and focus, making us irritable and easily distracted.
  • Decreased productivity: From work tasks to personal goals, our ability to perform efficiently takes a hit. 

This becomes a vicious cycle. 

Feeling exhausted due to sleep deprivation reinforces the need to "rebel" by staying up even later, perpetuating the cycle and jeopardizing our well-being. But before you find reasons to fret…there's hope! Here are some steps you can use the next time you see yourself pushing sleep away:

  • Set a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Wind down before bed with calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness.
  • Understand your sleep needs: We all have different sleep requirements. Experiment to find the amount of sleep that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  • Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with sleep. Power down your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Seek professional help: If you continue to struggle with sleep despite your efforts, consult a doctor or sleep specialist to explore potential underlying causes and treatment options.
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Meet the Author

Anagha Anand


Power, impact and efficiency drives Anagha. Her work in the field of mental health spans from her early college days working with individuals who have dealt and are dealing with trauma.

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