Are you a bedtime procrastinator? Do you know you should go to sleep but end up binge-watching television, scrolling through social media, or looking for an appetizer recipe to bring to that dinner party this weekend?
Nighttime procrastination is often driven by what a 2014 study coined as “revenge bedtime procrastination.” This term refers to the phenomenon where we don’t feel like we have enough time in our day, so we push back bedtime to regain some sense of control during nighttime hours. This behavior is common for parents of young children, who see late-night hours as their only child-free time, but it’s common in anyone that doesn’t feel like they’re getting enough “me time” in their day.
How do I know if I’m a revenge bedtime procrastinator?
If you find yourself staying up late, even though you have no concrete reason to do so, you’re likely engaging in revenge bedtime procrastinating. If you’re aware that you should be sleeping, but can’t seem to stop scrolling or watching tv, here are six steps to break the habit.
How to break the habit
Be intentional about sleep
Recognize when you’re procrastinating sleep and remind yourself of the necessary benefits of a full night’s rest. Think about how prioritizing sleep will benefit your health and wellness and remind yourself of this when you reach for the remote to put on another episode of your favorite show.
Make time to calm your mind
It’s difficult to go from a busy day to sleep suddenly, so establishing a “wind down” time in your evening can be helpful. Establish a set time to put all screens away and lean into a bedtime routine that helps you feel calm and relaxed. This can include meditation, a warm bath, reading, or whatever else helps you feel ready for sleep.
Turn off “auto play”
This is an incredibly simple solution for breaking your tv-bingeing habit. Simply turn off the “auto play” setting on your streaming sites to prevent you from effortlessly sliding into another episode.
Take breaks during the day
As bedtime procrastination stems from a lack of rest and recreation during the day, setting aside time for yourself during the day can help resolve the issue. This can be as simple as taking five minutes in the morning to enjoy your coffee and do a crossword or taking an evening walk after dinner to binge your favorite podcast.
Enlist the help of a friend or family member to hold you accountable. Agree on a wind down time to commit to together and consider sending each other check-in texts to confirm the other is actually heading to bed.
Eat some sleepy foods
Kiwi, fish, and almonds all have sleep-inducing properties. Check out this list of nine pro-sleep foods for a deeper night’s rest.