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Do You Suffer From Sleep Procrastination?

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   06/20/22

Your day was a hectic jumble of work, responsibilities, household chores, and social obligations. All you want to do is crawl into bed and get a good night's sleep. Instead, you end up scrolling through social media for hours, leaving you exhausted again.

This vicious cycle, known as sleep procrastination, is more common than you think! Learn more about its symptoms, causes, and how to put a stop to it.

What Is Sleep Procrastination?

The term bedtime procrastination first appeared in a 2014 research article. Out of the two hundred people who participated, 84% claimed they didn't get enough sleep. Over 30% slept less than six hours a night!

The idea later took off in China, where workers often keep a "996 schedule." They work from 9 a.m to 9 p.m, six days a week, leaving almost no room for relaxation. The Chinese phrase bàofùxìng áoyè, meaning revenge bedtime procrastination, became a popular concept on social media.

So, how do you enjoy yourself when you're working 72 hours a week? Use your precious sleep hours to watch movies, meet friends, and engage in leisurely activities! Sacrificing sleep for more interesting pursuits is the basis of sleep procrastination.

Sleep Procrastination Signs

Late nights due to insomnia or some uncontrollable circumstance now and then is normal. But revenge bedtime procrastination is a choice. The main symptoms include delaying your sleep and:

  • Reducing the amount of total sleep time
  • Having no valid reason to stay awake
  • Knowing that it will lead to negative consequences

Instead of going to sleep, you might throw yourself into activities that seem more fun. People often stay up late watching movies, cooking, or reading books. Delaying your bedtime also comes in two forms:

  • Bedtime procrastination
  • While-in-bed procrastination

The first option involves avoiding the bed altogether. You might meet up with friends, spend time on your sofa, or hang out in your backyard. While-in-bed procrastination begins as soon as you climb into bed.

We're all guilty of scrolling through our social media feeds before dozing off. This is a common way to practice while-in-bed procrastination. Some people engage in both methods, significantly reducing their total sleep time!

Why Does It Happen?

Bedtime procrastination is a relatively new concept, so there isn't a clear answer. But psychologists have a few theories:

  • Lack of self-regulation
  • Low self-control
  • Natural tendency to procrastinate tasks
  • Stress response

Some psychologists believe that sleep procrastination might be a result of chronotypes. You've probably heard of night owls and early birds. Our society is generally set up to function better for early birds - people who rise with the sun and go to bed at night.

Night owls are often forced to change their routine to suit a standard schedule. But because they feel more energy at night, they fail to fall asleep, using the time for pleasure instead.

Effects of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Besides feeling exhausted the next day, bedtime procrastination can lead to big problems. Physical and mental health are closely tied to sleep. Common health problems that result from a lack of sleep include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weak immune system
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Cognitive dysfunction

Sleep deprivation can also affect your decision-making, judgment, and reaction times. It can result in dangerous situations like car and workplace accidents. But it can also affect your mental health, creating a higher risk of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder

These combined consequences can significantly impact every sphere of your life. You might be too tired to excel at work, failing to receive promotions and move up. You might even end up destroying relationships due to memory problems and lack of commitment.

Problems Sleeping? Use These Tips

Clearly, a lack of sleep is bad news on all fronts. Luckily, taking some simple steps to change your bedtime habits can make it easier to fall asleep! Use these tips to banish bedtime procrastination forever.

Prioritize Yourself

The most important aspect of creating a healthy sleep schedule is prioritizing yourself and your health. Being aware of the negative impacts of lacking sleep is the first step. Tell yourself that making positive sleep choices will be better for you in the long run!

Re-Think Your Schedule

A jam-packed schedule is often at the root of sleep procrastination. Analyze your daily tasks and try to cut out whatever doesn't benefit you. For example, you can try transitioning to a hybrid working model if you have a long daily commute to work that eats up a lot of your time.

Create a Bedtime Routine

As children, our bedtime routines were vital for getting us to sleep at the right time. Nurture your inner child by creating an adult bedtime routine. Include relaxing activities like a bubble bath or warm shower, a cup of decaffeinated tea, or bedtime yoga.

Enforce a Digital Detox

Our digital devices are our worst enemies when it comes to sleep. Consider doing a digital detox. Unplug from work, emails, and social media a few hours before bed to remove temptation. You can also try one of the many apps available to limit screen time and remind you to log off.

Try Sleep Supplements

A supplement can go a long way when sleep just won't come. Natural sleep aids come in many forms, with melatonin being the most popular. Other options include:

  • Valerian
  • Chamomile
  • Magnesium
  • Glycine

Many pre-packaged sleep aids offer additional benefits like stress relief, mood improvement, and immune support. Sleep supplements might help you cover all the bases if you've been sleep deprived for a long time.

Create an Ideal Environment

Our bedroom plays a major role in how well we sleep and how quickly we fall asleep. Your mattress, sheets, blankets, and pillows are essential sleep hygiene components. But other factors like light, temperature, and noise can affect sleep too.

Most people prefer to sleep in a cool room, so you might need to crack a window or turn on the fan for better slumber. Outdoor noises can be easily muffled with a white noise machine or a pair of good ear plugs.

Say Goodnight to Sleeping Problems

Sleep procrastination is a real problem that affects people of all ages. We put off bedtime to gain more leisure time, but at what cost? Physical and mental health problems can be a direct result of sleep deprivation.

Ready to learn more about sleep, your health, and wellness tips? Dive into some more of our articles and keep reading!

headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

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