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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and How to Break the Pattern

Harmony Bay Wellness

If you enjoy a little me time before bed, you are no different from the majority of the population. Enjoying some leisurely time in the evening only becomes an issue when it escalates into something called revenge bedtime procrastination. This can result in you sacrificing your sleep and other areas of your health in favor of having more free time in the evening. So, keep reading to better understand what revenge bedtime is and how you can combat it. 

What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? 

The idea behind bedtime procrastination is not new, as it is something that many people struggle with. General bedtime procrastination occurs when you push back your bedtime in favor of having more me time, such as enjoying a movie or scrolling on social media.  

On the other hand, revenge bedtime procrastination is when you regularly sacrifice time you should be sleeping to enjoy these evening activities. This isn’t something you only do once or twice a week as it becomes a daily habit, which can quickly lead to sleep deprivation. For many people, revenge bedtime procrastination is a way of getting back at long work hours or the inability to have a more balanced lifestyle that allows for healthy leisure time.  

Some mental and physical side effects of revenge bedtime procrastination include: 

  • Increased daytime stress and anxiety 
  • Feelings of depression 
  • Stroke like symptoms 
  • Increased daily fatigue 
  • Difficulty regulating emotions 
  • Memory issues 
  • Risk of high blood pressure 
  • Reduced concentration 
  • Frequent headaches  

Who is Affected? 

The harsh reality is that just about anyone can find themselves in a pattern of procrastinating at bedtime. For many people, this happens slowly without them realizing that it is becoming a bad habit. 

Someone is more likely to develop revenge bedtime procrastination habits if they have a high-stress or very demanding job. They may not have enough time during the day to do the things they want to do, which results in them staying up later regularly. 

Other things that could impact your ability to get a decent night’s rest could have something to do with your circadian rhythm. Some people naturally have more energy later in the day, which can make it more difficult to get to bed at a decent hour. Another reason could be that you have ADD, which makes it difficult to wind down and rest in the evening. 

It’s also important to understand that this bad habit can take different forms depending on the person. This may include procrastinating when getting ready for bed or actually getting into bed for the night. Some people may get into bed at a decent hour but struggle to actually fall asleep once in bed, which can lead to them still losing sleep every night. 

How to Combat Bedtime Procrastination 

Even though struggling with bedtime procrastination can feel overwhelming, there are plenty of things you can do to try to reverse this bad habit. The first step is recognizing that this is becoming a problem and that you need to address it for the sake of your mental and physical health. Here are some examples of steps you can take to improve your evening routine so that you get the rest you need. 

Understand the Cause 

To fix a problem, you first need to understand why the problem is there in the first place. Analyze your lifestyle and try to find the main cause of your revenge bedtime procrastination before moving forward. Are you working long hours, which is taking away from your free time? Or do you struggle with winding down in the evening and quieting your thoughts? 

Every cause of bedtime procrastination will require a different approach to find the most success. If it simply has to do with a lack of free time during the day, you may need to talk to your boss about changing your schedule. Or, if you have ADD or struggle with nighttime anxiety, you may need to practice calming activities before bed. 

Create a Routine 

When you are procrastinating at bedtime, you most likely do not have a set routine that helps you go to bed at a certain hour. You will need to develop a nighttime routine that helps you know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it.  

Your evening routine should include relaxation time with soothing activities that aren’t going to overstimulate you. Ideally, this should include activities that don’t involve staring at a screen since this can make it harder to go to bed later. You should also avoid drinking anything caffeinated or drinking and eating too soon before bed, as this can impact your quality of sleep. 

In the beginning, you may need to start your bedtime routine much earlier to ensure you get to bed at the right time until you become better at avoiding distractions. 

Create Accountability  

One of the biggest struggles with bedtime procrastination is following the steps you have in place to reverse this cycle. Most people who have this problem are very aware of how bad it is but don’t know how to make themselves go to bed at a decent hour. That is where accountability comes in as it will help you stick to your goals and the steps you need to take. 

To create accountability, you can talk with a friend or family member about the issue so that they can hold you accountable. They can call you in the evening to make sure you are following your routine or check up on you the following day. 

You can also try to hold yourself accountable by setting timers throughout the evening as a way of reminding you of what you need to do. You can also add notes in areas where you will be in the evening that encourage you to get to bed at a decent time. Some people may find it helpful to make a list of all the reasons why they need to go to bed and why staying up late is harmful. 

Can Therapy Help With Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? 

Because revenge bedtime procrastination is not an actual mental health condition, you may feel hesitant to see a therapist about it. But the reality is that this is something a therapist can help you work through since it can stem from many other mental health concerns. 

For many people, talking about bedtime procrastination can be a bit embarrassing, especially if it is having a significant impact on your life. Speaking with a therapist can help you voice your thoughts and get another person‘s opinion on how to take steps toward improving this bad habit. They can also help hold you accountable by checking up on your progress. 


Revenge bedtime procrastination is a habit that can come with serious consequences, both short-term and long-term. Because it is not a designated sleep disorder, it is easy to overlook it and downgrade how serious it is, but it can still have a significant impact on your life. Creating accountability is a vital part of tackling bedtime procrastination, whether you choose to see a therapist or open up to a friend or family member. 

Contact us today at Harmony Bay Wellness to book an appointment with one of our certified therapists. They can help treat mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as help you manage negative habits such as bedtime procrastination. 

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