What Is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination & What Bigger Issues Can It Signal In Your Life?

When you go to bed at night, do you leave your phone outside the bedroom and fall right to sleep? If you do, that's great, but many of us take our phones to bed with us at night, sometimes to the detriment of our relationships, and often to the detriment of our sleep. Why do we feel the need to doom scroll social media when we should be sleeping?


It may have something to do with our work habits. Sleep medicine specialist Dr. Rachel Salas told CNBC, "What you do during the day and at work can really affect how well you sleep at night, and how you feel waking up the next morning." We dedicate so much time to our jobs that we find less time for other things, like keeping up on the latest social media drama. So, when we lie down in bed at night, we scroll through our phones, and that light keeps our brains subconsciously thinking it's daytime. Why do we have this need to hop on our phones when we should be sleeping? It's called revenge bedtime procrastination, and it's not a good thing.

So, what is revenge bedtime procrastination?

When your busy workday keeps you from doing the things you enjoy — like scrolling through social media to catch up with everything happening in your friends' lives, checking the latest news reports, and watching your favorite TikTokers — you may find yourself doing those things when you should be sleeping. This is exactly what revenge bedtime procrastination is: If you don't have time during the day to do the things you love, you may find yourself skipping sleep to get a little enjoyment. Behavior analyst Reena B. Patel told PopSugar, "We want to feel in control of our life and actions, and if we do not have that sense of control in what we choose to do, we hold sleep off in order to fit in watching TV, talking to friends, or reading a book, even though we should be sleeping."


Whether your day is mostly filled with career-related work, chasing your kids around, running errands, or keeping your house clean — or all of the above — you may feel like the only way to get time for yourself is to sacrifice some zzz's. We're here to tell you that there are some big downsides to spending your nights in bed staring at that phone screen instead of sleeping.

The bad side of revenge bedtime and how to fight it

The worst thing about revenge bedtime procrastination is that it causes us to not get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of issues, the least of which is feeling drowsy in the morning. The more sleep you skip out on, the harder it will be to concentrate; you may start to feel under the weather, and you could experience forgetfulness. Not only will your lack of sleep affect your job, but doing so much running and work during the day can also quickly lead to burnout. Jennifer Mundt, Ph.D. told Sleep.com, "Research has shown that a lack of sleep has an impact on our mood, alertness, and cognitive performance."


To avoid revenge bedtime procrastination, the best things you can do are schedule time for your favorite activities and leave your phone out of the bedroom at night. If you have kids, ask someone else in the household to watch over them once in a while to give yourself time to catch up on your favorite shows. Set reminders on your phone for the time you've scheduled to work on hobbies, do some reading, or watch streaming shows and movies. Consider this time self-love time and stop punishing yourself for not having enough hours in the day to do everything you want.