Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

by Samantha Bohrt, MPH, MCHES®
Health Coach – Community Wellness
Methodist Health System


Have you ever decided that it was time to go to sleep but instead spent hours awake watching TV or finishing something you didn’t have enough time to complete during the day? If so, you may have engaged in what experts call revenge bedtime procrastination. What you’re doing is sacrificing sleep for leisure time.

Putting off sleep?

Revenge bedtime procrastination is much more likely to happen when you don’t have enough time during the day to engage in the activities you enjoy. At the time, putting off sleep may seem like a reasonable choice or, let’s be honest, the more enjoyable choice, but ultimately it leads to you losing essential hours of sleep. Is this a behavior you tend to engage in? If so, you can plan ahead and prevent it from occurring again.

Why procrastinate?

There are many theories on why some people are more likely to engage in sleep procrastination — from struggling with self-control to simply being a night owl and needing to de-stress. But the results are the same: a sleep deficit that could lead to irritability, poor productivity, and daytime sleepiness — all symptoms of inadequate sleep. So if you are someone who engages in bedtime procrastination, what are some ways you can kick the habit? Here are five ideas to try:

  • Snatch moments of happiness. Find ways to include activities you enjoy during the day. This could mean listening to that podcast while you drive or folding the laundry while you watch your favorite show.
  • Make bedtime routine. Create a system that helps you wind down. Put your electronics away at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Be a sleepyhead. Engage in an activity that will make you sleepy. Whether it’s reading a book, meditating, or doing something mundane that makes you drowsy, find whatever works for you.
  • Be daytime active. Incorporate physical activity into your day. Regular moderate exercise can help you sleep better not only by improving the quality of your sleep but also by reducing the time it takes you to fall asleep.
  • De-stress on purpose. Find an effective stress-relief technique and include that in your daily routine. This could be journaling, meditating, stretching, or any number of relaxing activities.
  • Get excited (sort of). Make going to bed something you look forward to, and create a sleeping space that invites you in.

Don’t lose hope

If you’ve tried building healthier sleeping habits but continue to experience issues and find that these affect your daily activities, consider taking the next step. Discuss this with your healthcare provider who may help identify a sleep disorder and an individualized approach for treatment.

With a little persistence, you, too, can turn nighttime into a nice time.

If you’re looking for an organization that is committed to helping its employees care for themselves as well as others, take a look at Methodist Health System. Visit us at

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Posted Wellness