The Dangers of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Have you heard of revenge bedtime procrastination yet? Consider this: It’s late, really late. A reasonable bedtime has come and gone, and yet, the idea of retiring for the night feels like such a drag. After a long, frustrating day, what’s another 20 minutes on social media, online shopping or Hulu? We deserve it, right?

Yeah, we might not feel so forgiving of ourselves when morning finally rolls around, and the alarm has transformed into some kind of medieval torture device but that's then and this is now. And right now, life is hard during the day and these few hours are all we have of freedom and personal peace. Revenge bedtime procrastination can do more than ruin our wake-up routines, though. In some cases, it may even lead to serious health consequences. Here’s how.

Pushing the Bedtime into Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

No matter how late it gets, we can find all kinds of justifications for staying up just a little longer. After a long or stressful day, it’s natural to want to take some time to unwind, but when we start to feel like we deserve this time, and don't want it to end, we may be edging into revenge bedtime procrastination. We may end up staying up way later than we intended, and the behavior can be self-sabotaging in the long run. Experts call this damaging behavior revenge bedtime procrastination.

Stirring Up Misery

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night, according to the CDC. That goal can become impossible when revenge bedtime procrastination meets early morning demands. We end up sacrificing precious hours of sleep for immediate gratification, even when we know, deep down, we’re going to pay for our choice in the morning.

We might not consider the consequences beyond the added fatigue and reduced productivity, but the health effects of chronic sleep deprivation can be serious:

  • Cardiovascular disease risks increase, particularly cases of hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke and irregular heartbeat.
  • Obesity becomes more prevalent due to metabolic disruptions.
  • Diabetes risks increase for similar reasons.
  • Mental health is more likely to decline, increasing depression risks. We’re also more likely to be irritable when we haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
  • Drowsy driving contributes to hundreds, if not thousands, of fatal crashes each year.

Getting or Staying on Track

Procrastinating bedtime can feel tempting late at night when we’re engrossed in a good Netflix binge or getting ready to level up on that videogame. Most of all we tend to feel like we need more space and time to just be ourselves. This can signal that our work hours are creeping too deeply into our personal time. So the first steps are to assess your work hours. Are you experiencing scope creep with your work hours? If so, it's probably time to remind people that you don't work or answer work emails or calls outside of a set time frame. Protecting our personal time can feel risky but so is overworking and not taking care of our personal needs.

As for sleep hygiene, we can improve our chances of getting to bed at a healthy hour despite the traps by taking a few simple steps:

  • Set consistent sleep and wake times, and use reminders to keep from losing track of the hour. Consistency helps us keep our bodies on schedule, making it easier to get to bed each night and get up in the morning.
  • Keep the bedroom dark and quiet; a comfortable room is vital to good sleep. For the same reason, the use of AC or fans may be necessary to keep temperatures cool enough.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the afternoons and evenings, when they may interfere with sleep cycles. Additionally, alcohol can impair judgment, increasing the odds that we’ll make less responsible choices when bedtime comes around.
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom and limit their use before bed. The blue light most devices emit can impede our ability to get drowsy and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Get enough exercise and sunlight during the day to give the body the signals and building blocks it needs to shift gears more easily at night.
  • Use relaxation tools, such as guided nighttime meditations, gentle yoga stretches or quiet time with a paper book to help ground the mind and get it ready for sleep.

Most of us would like a little more time each day to unwind or engage in self-care, but it can’t come at the cost of our physical health and well-being. Better to push back those work hours and protect your personal time than to borrow from sleeping hours. Balance is the key, but we may need to work a little at finding it again if we've gotten off track. Revenge bedtime procrastination isn’t the personal treat it might feel like, and the price is often much higher than most of us would knowingly pay. 

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12/7/2021 9:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
Wellness Exists to Empower Health Conscious Consumers. helps people live healthier, happier and more successful lives by connecting them with the best health, wellness and lifestyle information and resources on the web.
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