Bedtime Battles: What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

Sofia Taddeo-Goldstein, Opinion Editor

Five more minutes: the words uttered by teenagers universally as they experience the sleep-deprived struggle of waking up every morning. 73% of high school students do not get enough sleep: why? For many, there are simply not enough hours in the day. Those with not enough time on their hands may find themselves victim to revenge bedtime procrastination, or sleep procrastination, which takes place when one puts off sleeping in return for more leisure time to compensate for their busy daily schedules. 

In a society that not only values productivity but requires it for material success, difficulties arise when one attempts to secure leisure time. Instead, one commonly spends their time fulfilling tasks, assignments and errands. Without daily time allocated for leisure, one may struggle to accept when the day comes to an end, as none of the time was prioritized around themselves and their wants. A lack of downtime is directly associated with revenge bedtime procrastination. 

Contrary to other causes of sleep deprivation, such as insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome, revenge bedtime procrastination does not encompass an inability to sleep. Those who suffer from revenge bedtime procrastination delay their sleep in an attempt to gain more control over their lives and daily regimen. Sleep procrastination has become increasingly prevalent in today’s day and age as the majority of American workers often report feeling stressed

Revenge bedtime procrastination can impact the amount and quality of shut-eye one gets. Lack of or low-quality sleep can quickly lead to irritability, fatigue, memory lapses and difficulty concentrating — reservations that those with hectic schedules can not afford, placing many that suffer from sleep procrastination in a catch-22 situation.  

Fortunately, one has the ability to break the sleep-depriving cycle. Tactics such as creating a consistent bedtime routine embracing a period of relaxation time prior to hitting the hay is key to the fight against revenge bedtime procrastination. Other strategies include: putting away screens and electronics at least 30 minutes before bed, devising a comforting sleep environment and finding “leisure breaks” throughout the day.