There is nothing we do better than revenge (bedtime procrastination).
After a long day full of responsibilities, going to bed at a “reasonable hour” just seems unfair. So we lay in bed, endlessly scrolling through social media until the wee hours when we finally succumb to sleep. Then we wake up the next day wondering why we didn’t just go to bed.
Yep, going to bed sometimes feels like a nightmare. Revenge bedtime procrastination is the action of engaging in an activity that isn’t necessary instead of going to bed at a healthy hour. Ashley Neese, a renowned breathwork teacher, somatic practitioner, and author of the upcoming book, Permission to Rest, says there’s a method behind the madness of this midnight phenomenon.
“Oftentimes, people will procrastinate at bedtime because of anxiety and stress, because they don’t have a good wind-down routine and feel too wired to sleep, or because they haven’t had enough personal time during the day.” Ashley explains that revenge bedtime procrastination is any activity that delays sleep. The most common include scrolling on social media, watching TV, hanging out on the internet, eating, and playing video games.
It may not seem like staying up to binge one more episode of your new favorite show every night is a big deal, but it is. “Over time, lack of adequate sleep is associated with unclear thinking, fragmented attention, memory issues, difficulty making decisions, feeling irritable, and increased anxiety and stress,” she says.
While everyone is susceptible to engaging in a little revenge bedtime procrastination, according to Ashley, this trait is more commonly found in individuals who struggle with ADHD and self-regulation.
Although she doesn’t believe bedtime procrastination is good for anyone, Ashley does see one possible benefit. “It can point you to areas in your life where something is missing or you’re in need of support,” she says. “For example, if you are cramming in self-care at night, try calling a friend, taking a break, or engaging in another short, nourishing activity during the day, so you feel more satisfied at the end of the day.”
Bedtime revenge procrastination can be a hard habit to break, but according to Ashley, this is a case of treating the cause, not the symptom. “It is important to get to the root cause of why you are choosing to stay up rather than honor your body’s need for sleep,” she says.
Ashley shares some actionable steps to get started.
- Engage in proven practices like breathwork or restorative yoga to help wind down before bed.
- Commit to not looking at blue light a couple hours before bedtime, as it is proven to disrupt our circadian rhythm.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day to give your body time to relax.
- Put your devices away, so you won’t be tempted to check one more email or social post before bed.
Most importantly, she advises creating a bedtime ritual, “so that your body can drop into a familiar rhythm at night and process emotions like anger or grief during the day to prevent them from overwhelming you when it’s time to sleep.”
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.