Tomorrow Can’t Come if I Never Go to Sleep: A Look at Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

When the sun sets and I’ve hit my highest point of work-related burnout for the day, it’s not atypical for me to relax in my bedroom, busying myself by reading, scrolling on TikTok, watching TV shows or listening to music rather than simply going to bed. The last time I checked the time was 6:10 p.m. Now, it’s midnight. If your day sounds similar to mine, you likely also suffer from revenge bedtime procrastination.

“Revenge bedtime procrastination” garnered attention just last year after multiple creators on TikTok started spreading the term. Now, with the hashtag amassing 25.7 million views, individuals are beginning to define the act they commit on a regular basis. According to Sleep Foundation, a site focused on topics relating to sleep, “‘Revenge bedtime procrastination’ describes the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.” When an individual becomes too busy and their daylight is taken up by tasks that don’t bring them joy, falling into a cycle of revenge bedtime procrastination becomes easy. Today wasn’t a good day if all you did was work, so why not stay up a few more hours watching that show you love or listening to your favorite musician’s new album? 

By staying up late, even past midnight, it still feels like you are in the same day, as you have yet to experience another round of the sleep cycle. It is for this reason that individuals feel tomorrow is further away, even if the longer they “prolong” today, the closer tomorrow comes.  

According to a survey asked on The Watchdog’s Instagram account, 58 percent of BC affiliates suffer from revenge bedtime procrastination multiple times a week, 33 percent encounter it once in a while and 8 percent don’t experience it. Out of the survey participants, the majority of them did not know much about this psychological phenomenon, with 50 percent having not heard of it, 17 percent knowing a small amount about it and 33 percent knowing a good amount. 

Knowing that some members of our student body suffer from such a habit and that a routine of it can result in serious sleep deprivation, here are a few tips for how to overcome it:

  • Make a goal for how many hours of sleep you want to obtain (The recommended is seven plus.), and actively remind yourself of it during your late-night leisure time.
  • Create a healthy work-life balance by reserving your bed just for sleeping.
  • Hold realistic to-do lists during your work, and try to incorporate your leisure activities throughout your day rather than pushing them all to the end of your night.
  • When you’re tired after a long day of work and activities, listen to your body and go to sleep.
  • Create a nighttime routine and have no “cheat days” — maintain a habit of breaking the habit.

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a hard thing to tackle. Most individuals that suffer from it work long and stressful days, so be gracious and kind to yourself if you also take part in it. Recovery to a healthy sleep schedule may be difficult, but with dedication and mindfulness, I am sure members of our student body can get back to a good sleep schedule as we make our way into the next quarter. If you feel that you need to talk to someone about your stress, I recommend checking out the BC Counseling Center. See their services here.