Written by Hannah See
Edited by Nikka Gan and Regiena Siy
When you get off a late night meeting for school, say around 9 PM and hear the sound of your laptop shutting down, you’ll realize that you finally have the rest of the night to yourself after a long and tedious day of sitting in front of that well-lit screen doing back-to-back work. What do you do now?
The most obvious answer here would be to sleep. I mean, why not? You finished late, so you wouldn’t want the bright screen to scorch your eyes, and you’re definitely drained after a long day of doing requirements for school. Yet, for some odd reason, you still find yourself sleeping at an unreasonable time even though you went to bed four hours ago.
The thing here is, it doesn’t matter if you can already feel the eye strain from the long hours of staring at a bright screen, or the all too familiar back pains slowly starting to creep in on you:
We still want control over our time! Even if it means skimping on a few more hours of sleep.
There’s that part of your brain that, if you let it, will actually drive you to keep doing something that isn’t necessarily healthy, which is how habits start to form. The next thing you know, bedtime has long passed, and you’re already on your fifth day of procrastinating sleep. Once this keeps happening, you’d better buckle up because that means you are now in what is called the feedback loop of bedtime procrastination. And getting out of it won’t be easy, especially in an online setting.
With the excruciating amount of time we spend on our computers for school, it’s so easy to blur the line that divides work from leisure. Just take notifications for an example, even when you have them switched off, once there is a need for you to go on one of the social media pages for work, the temptation to keep scrolling is really menacing.
Revenge bedtime procrastination is often described as the decision to skimp on quality sleep in exchange for leisure time – a decision heavily driven by the lack of control over one’s day time routine. And while sleeping late has its own consequences, the impact of long work hours in the day that pushes someone to willingly forgo sleep for a few more hours of downtime can turn into something as serious as a heart attack when left unresolved. It especially impacts one’s performance in school or work, since there would definitely be a lot of setbacks when one keeps procrastinating sleep and losing quality rest. In fact, it can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, poor decision-making, aggression, irritability, and hyperactivity, so you might want to think twice the next time you decide to stay up late.
Quitting a habit that you’ve been doing for a while is easier said than done, but we have to understand the consequences of constantly delaying our bedtime for the sake of “stealing back the time” that was stolen from us. If we do a reality-check on ourselves, it really boils down to how we manage our time. With proper time management, it is less likely that you would procrastinate sleep because you wouldn’t feel like you were robbed of your time to begin with.
Now, more than ever, we are battling with so much at once. The last thing we need is to keep losing sleep every night. A vital step to this is to actually make sleep part of your self-care routine by religiously sticking to a consistent schedule. Finding a routine that works best for you would gradually reinforce the importance of sleep, until you are finally free from the tight grip of the menace that we now know goes by the name revenge bedtime procrastination.
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