The rise of non-stop streaming services has led many people to skip their bedtime for short-lived enjoyment during the night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has estimated that approximately 88% of adults lose their sleep due to binge-watching and other activities.
This phenomenon is known as “revenge sleep procrastination,” a relatively new term that describes the action of delaying bedtime to have more free time at night. While staying up late to enjoy your favorite TV shows is tempting, the consequences of cutting back on sleep are far less exciting, followed by sleep deprivation and some physical, mental, and emotional problems.
Are you engaging in revenge sleep procrastination unintentionally? Here in this article, we will address the common psychological disorder, including its causes, how it affects mental health, and ways to overcome it.
The Connection Between Revenge Sleep Procrastination & Mental Health
What Is Revenge Sleep Procrastination?
The term “sleep procrastination” was first introduced in a paper from the Netherlands in 2014 and gained its popularity in China 2 years later with the addition of “revenge.”
Revenge sleep procrastination is a widespread phenomenon that refers to people intentionally refusing to sleep, even when tired, to engage in some me-time activities for themselves. These activities could be reading, crafting, binge-watching TV shows, or mindlessly scrolling through social media—anything they did not get to do during daytime hours.
It was not until 2020 that the term went viral amidst the pandemic following a tweet by journalist Daphne K. Lee. She defined it as something that happened to people “who don’t have much control over their daytime life,” thereby delaying sleep time to reclaim the freedom they lost earlier in the day.
Significantly, revenge sleep procrastination is one of the main reasons behind sleep disorders in modern times.
What Causes Revenge Sleep Procrastination?
Generally, the lack of leisure time during the day is the common reason behind the phenomenon.
Surprisingly, a 2019 study discovered that women are more likely to procrastinate on their bedtime due to overloaded responsibilities in the household and childcare. As a result, they make extra time for themselves during night hours after putting their children to bed.
Although anyone can be affected by revenge sleep procrastination, some people are more prone to the psychological phenomenon than others if they:
- Have many family and parenting duties
- Have burnout from a high-stress job
- Are a natural night owl
- Overwork for prolonged hours
- Have self-regulation difficulties or poor time-management skills
Moreover, people who frequently procrastinate (procrastinators) in other aspects of their life tend to delay their bedtime.
How Does Revenge Sleep Procrastination Affect General Health?
We all know that sleep is vital for general health and well-being. However, the inevitable consequence of refusing to go to bed the night before is sleep deprivation and feeling fatigued, affecting your productivity and ability to handle daily tasks, such as driving, on the next day.
Furthermore, you can quickly become grumpy and irritable due to constant tiredness. As a result, it can hurt your relationships with others.
With the habit of staying up late for no apparent reason, chronic sleep loss can lead to a range of health problems in the long run, such as:
- Cognitive function impairments (thinking, focus, memory, and decision-making)
- Difficulty staying alert
- Weakened immunity
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Increased risks of cardiovascular disorders
- Metabolic syndrome
- Weight-related issues
- Mental disorders
- Increased mortality
- Premature skin aging
- Lower sex drive
Revenge Sleep Procrastination & Mental Health: Are They Related?
Aside from adversely impacting overall wellness, scientists and researchers have pointed to the correlation between revenge sleep procrastination and increased negative emotions.
Indeed, sleep disruption occurs frequently, with 35% of American adults rating their sleep quality as “only fair” or even “poor,” according to NCBI.
While a combination of environmental, genetic, and biological factors could disrupt sleep, a hectic schedule with little to no personal time also causes people to voluntarily sacrifice their bedtime even though sleep loss is detrimental to their long-term health.
Technically, not getting enough sleep due to sleep procrastination can take a toll on your mental health, resulting in eventual depression and anxiety, among other health issues.
Remedies to Deal with Revenge Sleep Procrastination
Trading your restorative bedtime for a few moments of pleasure does more harm than good. If revenge sleep procrastination is your problem, it is time to change your habits with the following remedies:
- Treat sleep as a top priority: Keep reminding yourself of the importance of sleep. The more time you spend resting, the more energized you will be to tackle whatever comes your way the next day.
- Follow a schedule: A hectic life is the root of sleep procrastination. However, it may be impractical to quit your high-stress job abruptly. Therefore, planning your days or weeks and letting go of unnecessary activities is critical to helping you save more time for a good night’s sleep.
- Have a bedtime ritual: Before going to bed, practicing self-care, such as following a skincare routine, brushing your teeth, taking a warm shower, meditating, and gently stretching, are some of the tried-and-true ways to put yourself to sleep faster.
- Turn off digital devices: Putting your phone away and turning off all digital devices should be included in your nightly routine. They deserve a rest, too!
- Eat sleep-promoting foods: Despite limited evidence, foods like kiwi, tart cherry juice, nighttime milk, and fatty fish can promote better sleep. Also, it’s crucial to avoid consuming high-saturated and sugary foods, alcohol, and coffee late in the afternoon or evening.
In addition to the methods mentioned above, seek medical help as soon as possible to receive the best treatment plan if sleep deprivation disrupts your quality of life. Before taking sleep-promoting medications and supplements, always speak to your doctor first to avoid clashes in your supplemental regimen.
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