Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
- Follow a bedtime routine. Go to bed and wake up at around the same time, even on weekends. Consider changing your bedtime cue set an alarm, write in a journal, do breathwork and mindfulness activities to break out of the old routine. Take steps to streamline bedtime preparation, which will also decrease bedtime resistance.
- Avoid screens at least an hour before bed. Bright blue light exposure from electronic devices is similar to sunlight exposure, and it interferes with sleep.12
- Avoid naps during the day, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at night.13 Adenosine, a chemical linked to sleepiness, builds up when were awake and decreases as we sleep.14 Napping, therefore, may deplete the chemical we need to get a good nights sleep.
When To Get Extra Help
If your sleep disturbance starts to impact your daily life or relationships, consider getting some extra help. Sleep trouble is ubiquitous in our society and is often easily disregarded however, as discussed previously, when unaddressed, the consequences can be dire.
Here are some warning signs that its time to get extra help for sleep disturbances:
- Relationship strains
- Inability to improve your sleep hygiene
Who Is Most Likely To Procrastinate At Bedtime
People with high profile or high responsibility jobs may be more likely to procrastinate at bedtime. They can find themselves attempting to squeeze-in a personal life when they should be going to bed. In one study, gender and school status also correlated with bedtime procrastination: It was found that female students were most likely to engage in this kind of behavior.2
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How To Prevent Sleep Procrastination
The best remedy for sleep procrastination is healthy sleep hygiene, which involves creating good sleep habits and an environment conducive to sleep. Remember that it will take more than one nights sleep to truly get into good sleep habits.
Having set routines can make behaviors feel almost automatic. For this reason, a nighttime routine can reduce the impulse to stay up later instead of going to bed. Examples of positive sleep habits include:
- Keeping a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, including on non-working days
- Avoiding alcohol or caffeine late in the afternoon or evening
- Stopping the use of electronic devices, including cell phones and tablets, for at least half-an-hour, and ideally longer, before bed
- Developing a stable routine to use every night to prepare for bed
Relaxation methods, such as reading a book, meditating, or gently stretching, can be part of your bedtime routine and help ease you into sleep. Relaxation techniques may also decrease the stress that can drive revenge bedtime procrastination.
Creating an inviting bedroom environment that is dark and quiet and has a comfortable mattress and bedding can also make going to sleep more appealing. An inviting sleep space may counteract the desire to sacrifice sleep for leisure activities.
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When To Seek Help For Revenge Bedtime Procrastination:
If youre waking up feeling groggy and exhausted more days than not and its interfering with your daytime routine, it might be time to talk to someone about the problem. Reach out to your doctor, a mental health professional, or a local sleep clinic if you think you have revenge bedtime procrastination. Drerup advises its important to rule out another underlying mental health condition, such as trauma or anxiety, that could be keeping you up at night.
If you’re having a consistent issue not doing well in the daytime, you’re tired, you’re getting frustrated, its hard to get up in the morning, you’re groggy, you’re feeling less productive, or just enjoying lifeless when you’re awake then clearly, we can work on improving your sleep, Pelayo says.
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Consider Your Mental Health
All the years I spent trying to force my body into the schedule society wanted for me took a toll on my mental health.
Trying over and over again to change something, only to fail every time, made me resent my body and brain, as so many forms of internalized ableism do.
Eventually, it felt like torturing myself.
Like going through all the recommendations on every “7 tips for sleep hygiene” articles when I knew they wouldn’t work was the REAL act of revenge.
At some point, I decided the best way to deal with it is to roll with it as much as I could.
Instead of trying to go to bed earlier than my body wanted, I let myself stay up late and took after-work naps instead. I found the sleep patterns that worked as well as possible with my work schedule at the time, and made what changes I could to that work schedule.
It’s not possible for most of us to completely control our schedule and let it completely accommodate our energy, but it is possible to find something better than the torture and shame most of us put ourselves through.
When To Reach Out For Extra Help
You dont need to have a mental health condition to benefit from seeing a therapist. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed more often than not or find it challenging to strike the right balance between work and play, talking to a mental health professional can be a big help.
They can help you with things like:
- learning new relaxation strategies
- identifying specific sources of stress and develop tools to manage them
- think about potential career moves that might offer a better work-life balance
- coping with any mental health symptoms you experience as a result of not getting enough sleep
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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination Solutions
I recently started intermittent fasting as a management practice. A side effect of no longer eating past 8 p.m. is that I am less motivated to stay up late. Who wants to just hang out on the couch without snacks or a glass of wine?! Anonymous
I utilize the downtime feature on my phone to block distracting apps< . Tracking what time I go to bed and showing it to an accountability buddy helps me stay focused on my sleep goals. Another reinforcing factor is that I feel so much better when I go to sleep early and wake up early. Im less sad, more productive, and most importantly because Im getting more work done, I can incorporate me time into my day without feeling like Im shirking responsibility. Anonymous
Adhders Experience Time Differently
Sometimes called, âmeaningless abstractionâ, ADHDers often see things as ânowâ and ânot now,â complicating the voice in our head saying that we can just do the thing tomorrow. It exists now, in front of us, ready to be consumedânow or never. Those treating their ADHD with medication may also experience ‘the rebound effect’: âa flare of ADHD symptoms at the time a stimulant medication wears off.â Stimulants or otherwise, our medications manage impulsivity and boost feel-good neurotransmitters. They can also come with adverse side effects, including insomnia.
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Strategies To Beat Bad Dreams And Bad Sleep
Late-night compensations for this guilt are self-defeating because they undermine sleep, thereby interfering with daytime functioning, creating a vicious, worsening loop. What is more, there are many excuses for staying up late that are emboldened by giving oneself permission to sleep in the next morning, such as Work doesnt care if Im late, I can skip my first class, or I dont have anything I have to do tomorrow, which can be risky assumptions.
Treatments for adult ADHD often focus on skills for more consistent and efficient management of daytime roles, which allows for more my time during waking hours without sacrificing sleep.
Some clients describe sleep as a boring task. Readying for sleep requires the hassle of stopping what one is doing, presumably something that is at least minimally agreeable, and focusing on getting ready for sleep and the prospect of the demands of the next day, which activates stress for many adults with ADHD.
A cognitive reframe for prioritizing sleep issues for adults with ADHD is that the quality of a nights sleep starts with the wake-up time that morning. A fixed wake-up and get-up time should be set and kept regardless of the amount or quality of sleep. Once up and on the go, the adaptive mindset is that there will be sufficient focus and energy for adequate functioning for the day. It is common for the thoughts of adults with ADHD to gravitate to a sense of insufficiency, a sense Im not enough.2
Battling Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: How I Stopped Losing Sleep
ADHD brains buzz and ruminate in quiet homes after dark, when many of us are also prone to revenge bedtime procrastination delaying sleep in favor of me time activities such as Netflix binges, Wordle games, or TikTok scrolls. These late-night activities may deliver a quick dopamine fix, but the long-term effects often include guilt, exhaustion, and health issues.
So how do we break the cycle of revenge bedtime procrastination to get a good nights sleep? We asked ADDitude readers to share their successful sleep strategies, and weve highlighted some of our favorites below.
Do you have any brilliant shut-eye solutions? Share your tips in the Comments section below.
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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: Origins Signs And Impact
Revenge bedtime procrastination is the approximate English translation of a Chinese expression for delaying sleep to regain freedom lost during the day. The term took off during the pandemic, as sleep problems and psychological distress collectively skyrocketed.1
Anyone can engage in revenge bedtime procrastination, but people with high-stress, busy lives and/or poor time-management skills might be more likely to put off sleep for personal time. That demographic is heavily skewed toward women, who as a group lost significant personal time during the pandemic as they took on a greater share of parenting and housework compared to men.2
Though a relatively new term, bedtime procrastination is not a new concept to researchers.3 The behavior defined as going to bed late, absent of external reasons, and with an understanding that the delay will result in negative consequences is conceptualized as a self-regulation problem.4
Proper sleep is vital for functioning and overall health. Thats why inadequate sleep and poor sleep hygiene can contribute to a list of problems including:5
- impaired cognitive functioning
- weakened immune system
- Poor sleep quality and difficulty waking up8
ADHD is also associated with increased eveningness .9
Other Reasons Why Individuals with ADHD Engage in Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
The Psychology Behind Avoiding Sleep
There are personal characteristics that may increase a person’s interest in avoiding sleep. People who procrastinate on other things are more likely to procrastinate at bedtime. In addition, people who prefer evening over daytime may have an increase in bedtime procrastination.
Studies have associated a lack of self-control and aversion to a bedtime routine as other characteristics associated with bedtime procrastination.
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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination And Adhd
Many ADHDers often put the lull in their own lullaby.
Many ADHDers often put the lull in their own lullaby. Letâs explore this phenomenon from A to Zzz, and discuss solutions that feel more like sleeping in on Sunday and less like putting on a duvet cover. From voluntary to involuntary procrastination, there are steps to deal with both.
Itâs likely that youâre reading this when your phone should be on the charger and your head on the pillow. Instead, youâre hours into a stream of relatable ADHD TikToks way past your bedtime. You may have found this article in the ways Iâm about to tell you to avoid, but you have our permission to finish this article . Have you ever laid in bed after an excruciating day of extroversion and back-to-back attempts at getting work done only to crave the humor of absurdist memes and reading /r/TIL threads?
What about listening to the latest Avril Lavigne song, rocking on over to Travis Barkerâs Wikipedia, and somehow watching 23-minute YouTube videos on how drummers avoid carpal tunnel syndrome? You then realize that if you fall asleep right now, you can get about three hours of sleep before your alarm goes off. Sound familiar? Itâs a common experience.
What Does Revenge Have To Do With It
Revenge bedtime procrastination refers to the decision to delay sleep in response to stress or a lack of free time earlier in the day.
The addition of the word revenge to the concept of bedtime procrastination became popular on social media. The English term revenge bedtime procrastination emerged from a translation of an expression in Chinese that reflected frustration tied to long, stressful work hours that left little time for personal enjoyment.
In this way, bedtime procrastination is seen as a way of getting revenge on daytime hours with little or no free time. Though initially expressed by people in China, the idea has resonated across the globe and gained additional traction in response to stress induced by COVID-19.
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Causes Of Bedtime Procrastination
Bedtime procrastination can result from a number of career and lifestyle factors, including poor work-life division, impulsivity, night owl tendencies, and job dissatisfaction.
One of the major causes is those whose work and study schedules compress any time for activities of their selection, and their compelling desire to wrestle back some control and rebel against the society and culture suppressing their choices, says Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant. There are also other factors that influence revenge sleep procrastination, including those who are at risk of procrastination in general, and those whose circadian rhythmicity is not honored by their schedule. The stress from global events can also increase incidence, as can the blurring of boundaries of environments, such as the restrictions placed due to COVID-19.
Here are four potential causes of revenge bedtime procrastination:
What Are The Dangers Of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
Revenge bedtime procrastination can have a number of negative effects. The pretty obvious impact is getting less sleep than your body needs. Plus, on top of that, if you’re procrastinating sleep with something that requires a screen, that blue light that the screen omits actually inhibits your body’s production of melatonin which can disrupt your sleep, says Dr. Breus. In other words, it’s a double whammy.
After a while, continuous poor sleep can add up and lead to sleep deprivation, which can have serious “physical, cognitive, and emotional consequences,” Dr. Breus says. For example, those who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation are more likely to have health problems including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, ADHD-like symptoms, and even dementia.
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How To Break A Revenge Sleep Procrastination Habit
Youll know revenge sleep procrastination has become a problem when youre consistently compromising your sleep and feeling tired the next day.
Some people say, I wake up, I can function, but I cannot concentrate, Sameen says. Some people feel fatigued the whole day.
A good check: Sameen says ask yourself if youd be able to watch a movie in the afternoon without falling asleep. Most people who have sleep deprivation will say they nod off, he says.
But breaking a revenge sleep procrastination habit can be easier said than done.
To get your sleep back on track:
Reclaim Your Daytime Hours
- Plan satisfying, tiring activities during the day and stick to a schedule that prioritizes them. This will make revenge bedtime procrastination less tempting.
- Prioritize yourself. We readily give away too much of our energy to others throughout the day. Learn to put yourself first consistently so you dont feel so deprived at night.
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How To Stop Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
We live in this instant gratification culture, Dr. Singh says, and you expect to fall asleep the second your head hits the pillow. But sleep is a process. “Think of it like a flight,” he suggests. “When your flight has a 10 p.m. departure, you don’t get to the airport at 10, you’re there at 9 p.m. or 9:30.”
So instead of resisting your bedtime when it rolls around, prepare for it ahead of time. “I have a four-step routine: shower, journal, read, breathe,” says Dr. Singh. Creating a similar routine for yourself “gives you time to wind down and start to slow your brain down a bit,” he adds. In other words, it allows you to welcome sleep, instead of trying to force it.
Your sleep environment is also important. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex only, making it a sacred place your brain immediately associates with rest. The more time you spend in bed awake, the less likely you’ll be able to fall asleep when you want to. During work hours, Romanoff suggests recreating your former work setting in your home office or living room as much as possible. “Was work often a few degrees colder? Were the lights brighter? Transforming the space will help create differentiation between work, home, and bedtime activities,” she explains.
Even the awareness of what you’re doingand how harmful it can be long-termcan help. “The more we know about sleep, the more we will prioritize it,” says Cralle.