The phrase “revenge bedtime procrastination” initially brings about an image of a toddler standing up in their bed, bawling their eyes out as they fight to keep them open. And this performance, put on for your benefit, stems from them not wanting to go to sleep so that you won’t be catching any Z’s anytime soon either.
However, that is not precisely what the phrase means. It is a psychological phenomenon that is becoming more common and it is affecting the sleep habits and lives of adults everywhere.
What Is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
The first official mention of revenge bedtime procrastination is in an article written by Dr. Floor Kroese, a behavioral scientist from the Netherlands, in 2014. In her publication, Kroese says revenge bedtime procrastination occurs when someone goes “to bed later than intended while no external circumstances are accountable for doing so.”
To put that in terms we can all understand, it’s when we go to bed late for no reason at all other than we want to stay awake. And we do this even when we realize it is not in our best interests. The reason we do this, typically, is in an attempt to fit more leisure time into our overly-stuffed schedule.
Some studies say that this phenomenon is directly linked to a person’s lack of self-control. However, others say that people who fall prey to revenge bedtime procrastination are attempting to simply gain more control over their lives.
Where Does “Revenge” Come Into Play?
The “revenge” aspect of revenge bedtime procrastination comes from the act of defiance against one’s better judgment to do the right thing, in this case, going to bed in a timely fashion that will allow you to function optimally the next day.
Who Is Most Likely to Suffer from Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
This psychological phenomenon often affects people who typically do not derive much pleasure from their daily activities. Therefore, in the evening hours, they tend to engage in as many activities that bring them joy as they possibly can. The trade-off for adding some fun in their day means that they will often suffer from insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation.
People who tend to suffer the most from revenge bedtime procrastination include:
- People who experience high amounts of stress at their job.
- People (mostly women, studies show) who experience high amounts of stress at their job and then go home and engage in many other non-paid high-stress activities (ex. homework, putting the kids to bed, etc.)
- Those who naturally procrastinate.
- People who work extensive hours regularly.
There is also evidence that the pandemic has caused a higher percentage of the population to experience revenge bedtime procrastination. This seems to be because so many people have completely changed or abandoned their regular sleep schedule altogether because of the odd, unusual working arrangements caused by the pandemic.
What are the Effects of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
The lack of a good night’s rest often impacts both your physical and mental wellbeing. We must get a sufficient amount of sleep every night to function properly the next day.
Just a few things that can happen as a result of insufficient sleep include:
- Uneven or unpleasant moods
- Weight gain
- Lack of work or academic productivity
- Increased depression and anxiety
- An increase in heart problems
- An increased chance that vaccinations will not be effective
Revenge bedtime procrastination may allow you to feel as if you have more control over your life, but, in reality, it is taking away your freedom in other aspects of your life.
How Can I Avoid Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
There are a variety of suggestions to help prevent revenge bedtime procrastination. A few include:
- Keep to a regularly scheduled bedtime.
- Stop screen time about an hour before your bedtime so that your brain can prepare for sleep.
- Take a hot bath or shower to help your body relax in preparation for bedtime.
- Journal so that you can mentally “dump” the day’s stress from your brain.
- Allow for relaxing activities such as meditation or reading before bed.
- Make sure that your sleep environment is relaxing and welcoming.
Final Thoughts on Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
As the world and society continue to change and evolve, we are sure to encounter new issues that some might have never imagined possible just a few short years ago. Revenge bedtime procrastination seems to be one of those issues that manifested because of our increasingly hectic lifestyles.
Participating in revenge bedtime procrastination might seem like a way to regain a sense of freedom and control in your life. However, remember, you are simply creating more problems for yourself in the long run, as lack of sleep hurts other aspects of your life.