Revenge Bedtime Procrastination


Do you ever get so busy during the day that you run out of daylight hours to do the things you like to do? Have you ever attempted to remedy this by denying yourself sleep to make time for those activities?

If affirmative, then you’ve participated in revenge bedtime procrastination- a phenomenon in which people put off going to bed to engage in activities that they don’t have time for during the day. It is a way of finding time for leisure and entertainment—at the expense of sleep.

The term ‘bedtime procrastination’ was introduced in a 2014 paper. The addition of the word ‘revenge’ first came to use in China to describe how people often working 12-hour days would stay up as their only way to take back some control of their time. The idea of revenge bedtime procrastination has gained some social media attention in recent months, likely due to the increased stress and altered schedules associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In research, around 40 per cent of adults reported having increased trouble sleeping during the pandemic. Forty-four papers, involving a total of 54,231 participants from 13 countries, were judged relevant and contributed to the systematic review and meta-analysis of sleep problems during COVID-19. The global pooled prevalence rate of sleep problems among all populations was 35.7%. Patients with COVID-19 appeared to be the most affected group, with a pooled rate of 74.8%. Health care workers and the general population had comparative rates of sleep problems, with rates of 36.0% and 32.3%, respectively.

Signs

Staying up late isn’t necessarily a sign of revenge bedtime procrastination. Researchers suggest that three key features define sleep procrastination:

  • The delay in going to sleep must decrease a person's overall sleep time per night.

  • This delay in going to sleep is not due to any other reason, such as being sick of an environmental source interfering with sleep.

  • People who engage in the behaviour are fully aware that it may lead to negative consequences, but they choose to engage in it anyways.

This might affect people differently depending on their situation and why they feel the need to stay up late.


One study found that students and women were most likely to temporize their bedtime. To investigate the prevalence of bedtime procrastination among Polish people, a Polish adaptation of the Bedtime Procrastination Scale (BPS) was carried out, a self-report questionnaire for measuring the tendency to voluntarily postpone going to bed in the absence of any external circumstances. The research aimed to determine the main psychometric properties of the Polish version of the BPS. Scores in BPS slightly decreased with age and females scored higher on BPS than males. Higher BPS scores were obtained for a group of students in comparison to a group of subjects who were not students, and lower BPS scores were found in working respondents in comparison to respondents who were not working.

People with an evening chronotype are inclined to stay up later, which may manifest as bedtime procrastination. Sleep delay also appears to be more frequent in people who procrastinate in other aspects of their life.

Revenge sleep procrastination appears to be tied to significant daytime stress. For many people, sleep procrastination may be a response to extended work hours that, if combined with a full night’s sleep, leave virtually no time for entertainment or relaxation.


Impact

Staying up late on occasion isn’t likely to have a major impact on your sleep schedule, health, or overall well-being. The problem is when revenge bedtime procrastination becomes a regular habit. Late nights followed by early mornings can result in sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can hurt your ability to function the next day and can start to affect your physical and mental health over time. Problems with physical health are often linked to poor sleep, but it is also important to note that sleep also plays a pivotal role in mental health and well-being. Research suggests that sleep problems can even cause or worsen many mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Ways 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 night’s sleep to get into good sleep habits truly.

Prioritize Sleep:

The first thing you can do is make sleep a top priority. Remind yourself why getting to bed on time is important. If you feel more rested the next day, you’re more likely to have the energy to get through the tasks you need.

Practice Good Sleep Habits:

Establishing some quality sleep practices can improve the overall quality and amount of sleep you get. Some things you can strive to do include having consistent bedtime and wake time, skipping alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.

Assess Your Schedule:

Examine your daily obligations because a hectic schedule is frequently to blame for bedtime procrastination. Eliminate the activities taking up all of your time or those that are not important. You’re less likely to feel the need to avenge your loss of time if you don’t feel resentful about losing those precious hours of your day.

Schedule Time for Yourself:

Since you’re cutting things out of your schedule, focus on replacing those unwanted activities with time to indulge in some of the things that you love. This may not always be easy, particularly for parents or professionals who can’t step away from their obligations and responsibilities.

One way to deal with this is to plan and prioritize “alone time” as you would anything else. Schedule that block of time for yourself, then find someone—whether it’s a friend, babysitter, partner, or family member—who can take over while you enjoy your break.

Turn Off the Digital Devices:

Turn off the autoplay feature on your streaming service and skip scrolling through social media sites while lying in bed. Instead, focus on practising relaxation habits that promote sleep, such as doing some gentle stretches, meditating, or reading a book. Revenge bedtime procrastination can be a tough habit to break. It might only be after feeling utterly exhausted for a few days that you feel compelled to give up those late-night delays in sleep to get some quality shuteye. Because the behaviour is ultimately motivated by feeling that you don’t have control over your time during the day, reassessing how you spend your time each day is often the first step toward overcoming bedtime procrastination.


Reference:


Cherry, K. (2021, October 06). What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? Retrieved from- https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-revenge-bedtime-procrastination-5189591


Suni, E. (2022, April 08). What is “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination”? Retrieved from- https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/revenge-bedtime-procrastination#:~:text=Revenge%20bedtime%20procrastination%20refers%20to,popular%20on%20social%20media3.


White, T. (2021, March 24). Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: The reason You were up till 2 am last night. Retrieved from- https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep/revenge-bedtime-procrastination


Jahrami, H., Bragazzi, N.L., Saif, Z., Faris, M., Vitiello, M.V. (2021, February 01). Sleep problems during the COVID-19 pandemic by population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from- https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/10.5664/jcsm.8930#


Herzog-Krzywoszanska, R., Krzywoszanski, L. (2019, August 28). Bedtime Procrastination, Sleep-Related Behaviors, and Demographic Factors in an Online Survey on a Polish Sample.

Retrieved from- https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2019.00963/full

 

This Blog on 'Revenge Bedtime Procrastination' has been contributed by Nishita, who is currently pursuing B.A. Hons. in Psychology from the University of Lucknow. She is keen to learn about the complexities of the human mind and broaden her knowledge in the field of Psychology She is looking forward to becoming a Clinical Psychologist.


She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.