Advertisement

When you put off going to sleep

When you put off going to sleep
Getty Images

Raise your hand if you regularly find yourself scrolling through your favourite social media sites while lying in bed or catching up on the news long after you were supposed to go to sleep. You’re not alone.

If you’re like most people, you chalk up your late nights to taking a little time to unwind before falling asleep. But psychologists say there might be more behind your nightly activities than you think. They call it “revenge bedtime procrastination” and it can lead to sleep deprivation and other issues connected to a lack of sleep: memory loss, lack of alertness, a weakened immune system, and even some mental health challenges.

Here are 8 clear signs you’re not sleeping deeply enough.

Revenge bedtime procrastination

Revenge bedtime procrastination
Getty Images

The Sleep Foundation describes revenge bedtime procrastination as going to bed later than planned without a practical reason for doing so. Ultimately, you decide to sacrifice sleep for leisure time.

A study from researchers in the Netherlands described bedtime procrastination in 2014 in Frontiers in Psychology and the concept had soon spread globally.

You’ve grasped the bedtime part. And it’s pretty clear you’re procrastinating sleeping. But where does revenge come in? The answer to that intrigues psychologists.

It seems people who do not have much control over their time during the day stay up at night to regain a sense of control and freedom. It’s a sort of subconscious form of revenge, if you will. Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and certified sleep expert with the Better Sleep Council, says sleep scientists are fascinated because what appears as a simple coincidence might have deeper psychological roots.

On the other hand, here are 10 medical reasons why you can’t sleep.

How do you know if you’re a revenge bedtime procrastinator?

How do you know if you’re a revenge bedtime procrastinator?

You might be guilty of bedtime procrastination if you:

Suffer from a loss of sleep due to frequently delaying your bedtime

Delay your bedtime for no apparent reason

Continue to stay up past your bedtime despite knowing it could lead to negative consequences

Janelle Watson, a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Embrace Wellness, stresses that we shouldn’t confuse bedtime procrastination with staying up late to do work or to finish homework. Those are both reasons to push your bedtime back, but when you procrastinate sleep you don’t check items off your to-do list.

“The subconscious psychological goal of revenge bedtime procrastination is to take back control over your time,” says Watson. Bedtime and sleep procrastination tends to include activities that provide immediate enjoyment, such as watching Netflix, reading, talking to friends, or surfing the Internet.

This 10-step digital detox will help you break up with Facebook

The psychology behind revenge bedtime procrastination

The psychology behind revenge bedtime procrastination
Getty Images

Revenge bedtime procrastination is still an emerging concept in sleep science, and there are ongoing debates about the psychology behind this behaviour. But the truth is, many of us aren’t getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

So why are some of us making a deliberate decision to fan the flames of our groggy mornings and sleepy workdays? According to Watson, the answer to that question is “at the root of revenge bedtime procrastination.”

Studies suggest that our time management has become increasingly complex for various reasons, including changing and unpredictable work schedules and gender, class, and race inequalities.

“Although work schedules are a huge contributing factor to revenge bedtime procrastination, some of my clients are also bogged down with tight schedules with their children, family, and other roles and responsibilities that take away from their ‘me’ time during the day,” Watson says.

Find out 19 things you should do all day long for better sleep tonight.

Who is most likely to procrastinate going to bed?

Who is most likely to procrastinate going to bed?
Getty Images

Watson says that people who procrastinate when going to sleep typically want to get a full night’s rest but are not successful.

Sleep experts refer to this as an intention-behaviour gap that is sometimes caused by self-control or self-regulation challenges. Self-control is typically at its lowest by the end of the day, making it easier to give in to the temptation of self-indulgence.

While most people have the best intentions when it comes to getting a full night’s sleep, studies show that you might be more likely to procrastinate going to bed at a reasonable hour if you:

Procrastinate in other areas of your life

Work a high-stress or an otherwise demanding job

Find yourself having to “resist desires” during the rest of your day

Work in an environment that requires your work life to intersect with your personal life or that does not allow you time to de-stress after work (like working from home)

Are a woman or a student

Learn 8 silent signs stress is making you sick.

How to address revenge bedtime procrastination

How to address revenge bedtime procrastination
Getty Images

If you think you might be a bedtime procrastinator, experts suggest seven ways to get to bed and start getting some much-needed rest:

Be intentional about your rest. “If necessary, schedule your sleep by setting alarms, television timers, and other devices to alert you when your bedtime is near,” Watson says.

When possible, begin winding down 30 minutes before your bedtime.

Create a realistic bedtime goal that considers your daily schedule.

Turn off all electronic devices and put any sources of distraction out of your reach after getting into bed.

Practice relaxation strategies such as mindfulness and meditation.

Get at the root cause of the issue by developing healthy coping strategies to handle your stress throughout the day.

If all else fails, talk to a therapist.

Learn what else might happen when you start meditating every day.

Sign up here to have Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox.

Source: RD.com

Advertisement

Never miss a deal again - sign up now!

Connect with us: