Revenge bedtime procrastination

Buying time at the cost of sleep is a bad bargain — admit and avoid it

Revenge bedtime procrastination

I am a working professional in a senior position. Since the pandemic, I have been working from home and handling a large team, hitting new targets and am even up for promotion. Lately, I found that at night I can't seem to switch off my brain to sleep because I think I deserve to catch a break and chill out. I don't get any time for myself at all during the day. When it's time to sleep, I end up scrolling mindlessly or watching some videos in the wee hours. As a result, I am constantly tired. I have tried many ways to sleep, but at the core of it, I don't feel like sleeping because I think if the whole day I am just working, when will I get time to enjoy? Am I the only one who foolishly punishes himself with this act every night?

No, you are not alone. But you are taking revenge against your busy schedule by punishing and procrastinating your sleep. This is called revenge bedtime procrastination. Revenge bedtime procrastination refers to the decision to delay sleep in response to stress or a lack of free time earlier in the day.

Chinese have long used the term "報復性熬夜" (revenge bedtime procrastination) that reflected frustration tied to long, stressful work hours that left little time for personal enjoyment. This idea has slowly spread across the globe and surely worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic where we have higher demands on our time due to the work-from-home culture.

At the core of it, we all know that this behaviour is unhealthy. Then why does it continue to be tempting to "torture" yourself by not sleeping and rather doing "more"? The answer is complex. We live in a hypercompetitive world where staying up to date and knowing it all seems to be the trend. Most individuals worry that by not doing it all, they will feel left out. The night seems to be a time when most resonate with the feeling of comfort and are at ease to do what they wish.

Even though we all deserve to catch some free idle time, it may not be the best idea to reduce your sleep. Sleep deprivation has known to cause mental and physical effects — both short-term and long-term.

How to stop?

It is easier said than done but is surely worth a try.

1. Try to re-define leisure time" for yourself.

2. Recharge and re-boost with a routine, diet and exercise plan.

3. Stop lying to yourself that p`ushing back sleep is good, and that you can make up for it over the weekend. No, you can't.

4. No gadgets in bed, strictly.

5. Meditate to slip into sleep rather than numbing yourself into sleep by watching videos and scrolling.

6. Breathe.

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