Here’s what you need to know about ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’

Here’s what you need to know about ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’

By Avery Newmark, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for CNT #Health

If “squeezing in one more episode at midnight on a workday” sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many people put off sleep to gain more leisure time, even if it means waking up groggy and exhausted the next morning. It’s called revenge bedtime procrastination, and yes, it’s a real thing.

“People procrastinate bedtime for the same reason people smoke and overeat and drink too much alcohol and don’t get physical exercise. Most of this has to do with short-term gain rather than long-term cost,” Michael V. Vitiello, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a sleep specialist, said to UW Medicine.

Many people experience a sense that they have little control over their waking hours, because of demands placed on them by family, work or school. Revenge procrastination at bedtime provides those people with some sense of control.

According to Philip Richard Gehrman, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, it’s a way to say, “OK I’m going to exert some control over my schedule and to be able to spend it the way I want to spend it rather than just being subjected to the external forces around me,” TODAY reported.

While occasionally engaging in revenge bedtime procrastination isn’t the worst thing for you, it can become a problem if it begins to interfere with your life, such as work suffering as you endure the effects of sleep deprivation, or if you experience exhaustion-related mood changes.

“(A therapist) will really tackle what are the cognitions that might be interfering with someone not wanting to go to bed or how are they thinking about sleep that’s impacting their ability to get good quality of sleep.”

Some other helpful tips, according to TODAY, include:

  • Avoiding caffeine too close to bedtime
  • Keeping the bedroom for sleep only
  • Having dim light on in the evening
  • Keeping the bedroom dark and cool
  • Having a bedtime routine
  • Getting enough exercise

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By Troy Warren

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