Have you ever found yourself lying in bed at night, scrolling through your social media feeds even though it’s far past the time when you should’ve turned out your light and gone to sleep? There is a name for this pattern…revenge bedtime procrastination. This pattern of procrastination may be common, but it puts your health at risk.
Getting enough good quality sleep is an important part of any healing journey. The body simply can’t be in a state of great health if you are sleep deprived. And yet, many people do not get enough sleep regularly. Add the stress of the pandemic, and now more people are experiencing sleep disturbances than ever.
More about revenge bedtime procrastination
This term is relatively new, but the issue is not. Revenge bedtime procrastination happens when you consciously choose to stay up past your intended bedtime to reclaim more “me time”. It is the response to a schedule that is too busy and that lacks personal time. And it is an unhealthy and ineffective activity that people use to reduce stress.
The pandemic has only heightened this problem. Over the past year more people have been forced to work from home while also having their children participating in school remotely. This has caused a problem with creating a healthy work life balance for many. The result has been less personal free time, growing stress, and an increase in health issues. Women particularly have experienced a reduction in free time for self-care. So many are turning to revenge bedtime procrastination to fill the void.
How does revenge bedtime procrastination affect your health?
This type of procrastination causes you to get less sleep than your body needs leading to sleep deprivation. When you are sleep deprived, you will experience extreme fatigue. But sleep deprivation also causes memory problems and difficulty concentrating. You may also experience an increase in anxiety, depression, paranoia and even hallucinations as the result of a lack of sleep.
Not getting adequate sleep also impairs judgement and decision making ability and can make it difficult to plan or organize. It can even cause you to experience body aches and pains or digestive problems.
Chronic sleep deprivation upsets your body’s natural circadian rhythm, throwing off your sleep cycle. This can throw your hormones out of balance and lower immune system function. This issue is even more important to address now at a time when COVID-19 is causing a greater need for us to have a strong immune system.
Getting too little sleep may also cause you to gain weight by causing to you have increased cravings for sugar and other junk foods.
Mindlessly scrolling social media, playing a game online or binge-watching endless videos past your bedtime may feel good in the moment. But it isn’t reducing stress at all. In fact it increases overall stress. And the amount of stress it ultimately creates causes long lasting damage to your body.
What can you do to overcome revenge bedtime procrastination?
Set the right environment in your bedroom
You can make some simple changes in your bedroom that can help promote better sleep.
- Use room darkening curtains or shades to keep your room darker. A dark room promotes production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Be sure that your mattress is comfortable.
- Get a comfortable pillow that supports your head and neck properly.
- Make sure that the temperature in your bedroom is not too warm. The ideal temperature is 65 degrees F.
Set the same sleep and wake-up time daily, even on the weekends. This helps to keep your sleep cycle balanced, which will allow you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night.
Watch what you eat and drink
- Eating a large meal close to bed can cause digestive issues that keep you awake.
- Avoid drinking fluids close to bedtime. Having to go to the bathroom is one of the most common reason why people don’t sleep through the night.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants in the afternoon and evening. These can keep you awake much later than you’d like.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can interfere with proper sleep.
Turn off your phone early
As a society we’ve become addicted to being with our smartphones. But in order to reestablish better sleep patterns, it’s important to become aware of habits that are harming us. Stop using your smartphone and other electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light in these gadgets can interfere with production of melatonin, which naturally promotes sleep. If possible, keep your smartphone in another room to help you avoid reaching for it mindlessly.
Healthy habits to promote sleep
Instead of scrolling on your phone, try reading a book, meditating, doing restorative yoga, writing in a journal, or deep breathing. These activities can help prepare the body for sleep. But they also help to deactivate the stress response, which may be why you feel the need to procrastinate at bedtime in the first place!
Becoming aware of bad bedtime habits is the first step towards correcting them. It’s important to recognize just how important sleep is, especially if you want to live a healthy life! Quality sleep is a part of the FDNThrive healing protocols for a reason. Begin to make it a priority today and start on the journey to becoming a healthier you!