Revenge bedtime procrastination: Here’s what it means and how to snap out of it

Simply put, it is the purposeful delay of sleep to carve out some time for yourself

Luke CoutinhoUpdated: Saturday, March 26, 2022, 03:46 PM IST
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You have had a busy day and spread yourself so thin during the day between work, emails, meetings, household chores, and more that you have no time for yourself. Then comes bedtime, and you are all set to indulge in recreation, catching up with the latest updates on social media, checking feeds, maybe an episode or two of your favourite show. It’s nearing midnight, but you just aren't done with your quota of relaxation and fun. You pacify yourself by saying — I have earned it!

So, in an honest attempt to relax, you unknowingly end up skimping on sleep, the very essential to truly relax after a day of work. This is a typical case of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, and truth be told, it has plagued most of us.

Simply put, it is the purposeful delay of sleep to carve out some time for yourself. It's like taking revenge for not having time for yourself during the day by fitting your leisure time in late-night hours at the cost of your sleep. And not sugarcoating it, but it is a form of self-harm, without you even realising it. 

How can one snap out of it?

1. Take breaks from work

Breaks are a way to recharge yourself. You are bound to feel burned out and exhausted if you are continuously working from 9 to 5, or maybe beyond that too. No matter how short, breaks are necessary for productivity, focus, mood, and energy levels. And, when we say break, it means a break without gadgets. It could be a coffee or tea break, a lighthearted chat with your loved one, a quick dance, or some music therapy. This way you wouldn’t long for that time when you shut your shop and binge on gadgets and social media because you have already been filling your cup throughout the day through short breaks. 

2. Self-discipline

It all comes down to self-discipline. No tricks or hacks ever work without self-discipline. When you recognise getting stuck in the burnout-binge-guilt loop and pattern, you need to put in effort and discipline to snap out of it. 

3. Practice self-restraint 

Self-restraint is the restraint exercised over one's actions, emotions and impulses. It takes a split second to pick up the phone and open social media. But the moment you are engaged in it, it sucks you in. Through self-restraint, one can be more aware of their impulsive actions like aimlessly picking up the phone or surfing through channels. This is not to say that self-restraint can curb your revenge bedtime procrastination, but it can at least weaken the habit pattern. And, it is like a muscle. The more self-restraint you practice, the stronger it gets. 

4. Set an intention 

Doom scrolling happens when we decide to aimlessly pick up our phone or switch on television and surf channels. Without an intention, we are bound to spend more than necessary. And it might not be your fault! Social media algorithms are designed to keep you hooked on them. This is precisely why setting an intention becomes necessary. Ask yourself —Why do I want to surf the internet/social media/television? How much time do I want to invest in it? How do I want to feel after that? Recreation isn't the problem, but doing it without an intention and that too at the cost of your sleep is.

So, what can you do to relax after work if not social media or gadget time?

Besides practising the above, build your unique and sacred evening ritual. A lack of structure in your evening routine can make it easy for you to resort to social media and other unhealthy activities to relax. Your evening routine can include some of the following:

  • Reading books.

  • Organising the next day.

  • Taking a warm and luxurious bath, with warm water, maybe bath salts, a candle and music.

  • Conversations with loved ones.

  • Making love.

  • Listening to music.

  • Journalling and self-reflection.

  • Meditation.

These are not only powerful sleep promoters, but also allow you a gadget-free means to unwind.

(The writer is an expert in Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle — Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine)

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