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On Revenge bedtime procrastination

Tupac Shakur claimed that "revenge is like the sweetest joy" next to the pleasures of the flesh. But pursuing revenge is often deemed self-destructive. And guess what — revenge bedtime procrastination is no different.

Bedtime procrastination is a person's attempt to have control over their time at night. This stems from a perception of lacking influence over events during the day. It became associated with revenge after the phenomenon grew in visibility in China. Employees working the infamous 996 felt that employers were stealing their time. They got revenge by stealing it back at night.

For Sleep Foundation, revenge bedtime procrastination is "a response to extended work hours that, if combined with a full night's sleep, leave virtually no time for entertainment or relaxation."

That spoke very much to me. And so do the behaviors associated with this psychological concept:

  • Having no actual reason to stay up late,
  • Delaying sleep, thus reducing total sleep time,
  • Being aware of the negative consequences induced by that delay, and
  • Procrastination-related behaviors (it's not to do chores that I'd say up late).

The scientific debate is still ongoing. At the moment, possible explanations include having a different chronotype or lacking self-control. Simply put, the former is the case of a Night Owl being forced into an Early Bird lifestyle because of work. But I'm most intrigued by the latter.

Because a busy work day is demanding in terms of self-control, our self-control is at the lowest at the end of the day. As a result, it is easier to get tempted and slip into unhealthy habits at night. Research shows that taxing days make us more likely to engage in bedtime procrastination.

The consequences of sleep deprivation are clear. It degrades thinking, memory, and decision-making. It can lead to depression and anxiety. It also generally worsens physical health. That's scary enough.

But here's why I find it intriguing. If low self-regulation induces sleep procrastination, it can become part of a vicious circle. A cycle of reduced sleep and worse overall health is unlikely to result in more self-control.

And a lack of self-control will hardly translate into a healthier lifestyle — whether or not you're working 996.


Sorry, I dont have any advice on how to address these issues yet. I'm just starting with trying to fix my own sleeping schedule. 😜

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