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20th Mar 2024

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: Are we self-sabotaging our sleep?

Jody Coffey


I feel seen

Every morning, through tired eyes and stifled yawns, we promise ourselves an early night of sleep.

Of course, as the day goes on, energy levels soar, giving us a renewed motivation to seize the day and get sh*t done.

As Molly-Mae once controversially pointed out, “we all have the same 24 hours in a day”, but sometimes, those 24 hours aren’t enough to check off everything and still have free time left over for leisure.

More often than not, tasks associated with work will win out and take precedence over social, fun, relaxing, and/or personal activities.

This is where ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’ tends to creep in.

Credit: Getty

What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

Revenge bedtime procrastination is when a person chooses to reclaim time for leisure that they lost due to the busy working day.

They will sacrifice sleep for a few hours of entertainment at night even though it will result in insufficient sleep and tiredness the next day.

In the moment, Revenge Bedtime Procrastination can be very tempting as it may allow a person to feel as though they are regaining a sense of freedom during late night hours after having little control over their daytime hours.

According to The Sleep Foundation, people who engage in bedtime procrastination are aware they need to and generally want to receive enough sleep, but they fail to do so.

While the concept of sleep procrastination is still an emerging one in science, one study found that students and women were more likely to engage in the behaviour.

Revenge sleep procrastination seems to be linked to significant stress from daytime hours and may be a response to extended work hours that, if combined with a full night’s sleep, leave no time for entertainment or relaxation.

Credit: Getty

Consequences of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

While it may feel good to stay up late catching up on that TV series, scrolling on your phone, or reading a book, late nights followed by early morning can be detrimental to our health.

According to The Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation can have some notable negative effects on our mental, physical, and emotional health with short- and long-term consequences.

Sleep deprivation can lead to negative impacts on thinking, memory, and decision-making, as well as increasing daytime sleepiness, which, in turn, can result in reduced productivity.

Reduced sleep is also associated with feelings of irritability and/or deregulated emotions and mental health disorders.

A lack of sleep is tied to irritability and other difficulties regulating emotions. It’s also been connected to mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.