Tips On Stopping Bedtime Procrastination

Some days, bedtime can feel like a blessed reprieve after a hectic day. Other times, you may avoid hitting the sack altogether. If you have ever shunned sleep in favor of watching your favorite show, scrolling through Instagram, or playing a game on your phone, you may be dealing with bedtime procrastination (via Verywell Health).

We may associate bedtime stalling tactics with children, but it turns out adults can do this as well. While bedtime procrastination can affect anyone, you may be especially vulnerable to it if you work long hours, have multiple jobs, or have a lot of family responsibilities outside of work, per Verywell Health. It's a way for you to shut down, unwind, and do something that's just for you. This type of bedtime procrastination has become so pervasive, that it's even got its own name: revenge bedtime procrastination.

According to WebMD, the "revenge" aspect of this bedtime procrastination comes into play because it is a way for you to fight back and reclaim time for yourself after a packed day. Unfortunately, this tactic often means you are losing out on sleep, which can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. A 2014 study published in Frontiers in Psychology first noted this behavior where participants failed "to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent[ed] a person from doing so." Luckily, there are several tricks that will help ease you into a better bedtime routine without feeling like you are giving up your "me" time.

How to stop bedtime procrastination

There are several ways you can change your bedtime procrastination habits, starting with being intentional about prioritizing sleep, per MindBodyGreen. When you remind yourself how important sleep is, it may help you value a good night's rest, so avoiding going to bed becomes less attractive.

If you find that your bedtime procrastination activities center around social media scrolling, try setting a timer to indicate that it's time to shut down your phone or download an app that does so for you (via MindBodyGreen). If binge-watching your favorite Netflix show is your go-to for unwinding, psychologist and sleep expert Dr. Shelby Harris suggests turning off auto-play and limiting yourself to only one or two episodes, per MindBodyGreen.

Dr. Nishi Bhopal, psychiatrist and sleep specialist, also explains to MindBodyGreen that because revenge bedtime procrastination occurs when you don't feel like you have enough time for yourself during the day, it can be helpful to prioritize breaktimes and find something that brings you joy during your days. This could be as simple as taking yourself out for a walk at lunch on a sunny day or carving out time to attend a relaxing yoga class. Dr. Bhopal also highlights the benefits of using the buddy system and partnering with a friend or family member so they can remind you to turn off the T.V. and hit the sack.