Revenge bedtime procrastination - What's behind the phenomenon?

Revenge bedtime procrastination
28. March 2023

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a modern phenomenon that affects more and more people. However, very few people are familiar with the term. It refers to the procrastination of sleep in the evening. Due to work or other commitments, we don't always have free time during the day, so we want to make up for the lost free time in the evening and stay awake longer than we actually want to. But if we postpone going to bed more and more, this has a negative impact on our well-being. We'll tell you what the consequences of revenge bedtime procrastination are and how you can avoid postponing your bedtime at night. 

What is revenge bedtime procrastination?

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a complicated name for a common problem: Even though you know you're supposed to be sleeping, you keep pushing back your bedtime. It's not uncommon in a society where our days – and therefore our time – are often dictated by work and other obligations. When we finally enjoy some free time in the evening, we want to catch up on everything we missed during the day. Whether it's binging a TV show with our partner or scrolling through Facebook until past midnight – It feels good to finally be able to decide for ourselves what we want to do. If only we didn't have a guilty conscience in the back of our minds when we turn night into day yet again. After all, we all know that getting enough sleep is important for our well-being. But when we have the choice between a good night's sleep or a nighttime program, we still prefer to zap through the TV channels rather than satisfy our body's need for rest. Too little sleep, however, can lead to health problems in the long run.

Why is sleep procrastination bad for our health?

Revenge bedtime procrastination mainly affects people who have a very busy schedule and rarely have time for themselves. They often lose themselves for hours on social media or streaming services, which inevitably leads to sleep deprivation at some point. Do you also regularly stay up until the wee hours of the morning? Then you've probably noticed yourself that you feel anything but well rested the next morning. In fact, if you regularly ignore your need for rest and stay up too late, you're putting your body through the ringer. Staying up late – and the sleep deprivation that comes with it – causes a stress response in your body, as it can only take care of cell repair and initiate important metabolic processes during sleep. Against this background, getting enough deep sleep is essential for us to feel fresh and refreshed the next morning. However, if your sleep rhythm shifts backwards because you're forcing yourself to stay up, your sleep often remains superficial, and you don't spend enough time in the deep sleep phase. Then, when you get up, you feel dull and during the day you are tired all the time, irritable, and have problems concentrating on your work.


What types of revenge bedtime procrastination are there?

Revenge bedtime procrastination does not occur if you go to bed late every now and then because friends unexpectedly dropped in for a visit or a date night at the movies has pushed back your usual bedtime. The phenomenon differs from occasionally staying up late in that it happens regularly and without good reason. The person in question is aware that he or she is harming his or her own health in the long run. 

We can distinguish between two types of revenge bedtime procrastination. In the first case, falling asleep is postponed, which means that the person is in bed at bedtime with no intention of actually getting any sleep. Instead, those suffering from the condition are still texting with friends on their cell phones, are scrolling through the news feed on social networks, or are watching funny videos on YouTube. In the second type, bedtime itself is delayed, often by activities that promise entertainment: Thus, you sacrifice your bedtime by playing computer games or watching Netflix until the clock strikes well past midnight. Both types of revenge bedtime procrastination share the common trait of severely shortening the duration of your night's rest, so that you no longer adequately meet your recovery needs.

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How can you get back to a healthy sleep schedule?

It can be hard to go back to your natural sleep schedule, especially if you've become accustomed to revenge bedtime procrastination. However, the negative consequences that sleep deprivation has on your health can be used as motivation to finally make a change. And once your body gets the rest it needs at night, you'll feel alert and energized again. The following tips will help you establish a healthy sleep hygiene routine to prepare your body and mind for a good night's rest: 

  • Train yourself to go to bed around the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. 
  • Put your smartphone and laptop on "do not disturb" before you go to bed. 
  • Stop using digital devices at least 1 hour before bedtime, as the blue light could potentially have a negative impact on your sleep time. 
  • Refrain from enjoying alcoholic beverages in the evening, as they lead to shallow sleep. Instead, try a recipe for a relaxing nightcap
  • Pick a sleep ritual: Such as a warm foot bath, keeping a journal, or a cuddle session with your pets. 
  • Relaxing forms of exercise, such as yoga in the evening, can help you unwind and fall asleep more easily. 
  • Listening to a sleep podcast brings fun and entertainment and has a positive effect on your sleep quality. 
  • Beautifully arrange your sleeping environment. A harmoniously designed, darkened bedroom and a comfortable mattress ensure that you can fall asleep particularly comfortably.

Photo credits:

Joel Sorrell /
Africa Images /
AntGor /

Tags: falling asleep, sleeping tips
Categories: Sleep Life Balance