What is Sleep Procrastination & How to Cope With It

What is Sleep Procrastination & How to Cope With It

After a long, draining day at work dealing with numerous questions, have you ever found yourself in the following scenario? You are tired, just had dinner and want to go to sleep, but instead of putting your phone away, you are bothering with your phone’s screen light as you mindlessly scroll. The time you had to fall asleep passed, and now it is only a question of time before you stop scrolling social media, saying, “this will be my last post”.

While it is a common practice among modern people, not everyone knows that there is a term that describes this situation. It is known as sleep procrastination, and you can cope with it. No one wants to feel tired and sleepy in the morning but still procrastinate instead of going to bed.

If you’re one of those who have similar issues, this article will be your wild card. Sleep procrastination is considered to be a psychological phenomenon describing a situation where people stay up later than they want to to get control over the night since they perceive themselves to lack influence during the day’s events.

Even though sleep procrastination isn’t officially named as a psychiatric or sleep disorder like insomnia, it still affects a lot of people, so let’s explore everything we know about this sleep issue and how to cope with it.

Who Invented the Term?

If you are reading this small guide, you probably know what procrastination is. But the term “sleep procrastination” was coined by a Netherlands researcher and later became viral thanks to a tweet originating in China.

This researcher, known as Floor Kroese, performed a study on participants who voluntarily put off sleep and found a correlation between lack of sleep and lack of self-regulation, which she later called “sleep procrastination”. Since this behaviour is common for a lot of people in the 21st century, a 2018 tweet went wild.

And this term has only gained popularity during the last few years. That is because COVID-19 restrictions lead to remote work, forcing people to transition from office to work from home, change their predictable routines and make it hard for most to control their working and resting time. As a result, most people lose the feeling of working hours and “me” time, therefore fueling the need to get that time in the night instead of falling asleep.

Is Sleep Procrastination Bad for Health?

While it seems that sleep procrastination only affects our “me time” and how we feel in the morning, the truth is that it is a habit. Therefore, it is an issue that causes a chronic lack of sleep. Sleep procrastination leads to sleep deprivation that negatively affects health and wellness.

Sleep is essential for our health since it allows us to rest and recharge. Chronic lack of sleep not only makes you unfocused, less productive and hungry, but it can also lead to many health issues, like mental health problems and obesity.

But why does this happen to us? The most common reason for sleep procrastination is a lack of “me” time during the day. This also explains why teens and women are more prone to this behaviour. However, there are also some other reasons for this behaviour like:

  • A high-stress job;
  • Too many responsibilities;
  • Mental burnout;
  • Work long hours;
  • Night owls.

How to Cope with Sleep Procrastination?

Now you know what sleep procrastination is and what causes this behaviour. It is time to explore how you can cope with this. If sleep procrastination prevents you from having a quality sleep and you lack self-regulation, there are several steps you can take to finally get enough sleep during the night and gain some “me time” during the day.

Schedule Some ‘Me Time’ Every Day

As we mentioned above, self-regulation is the first step to take towards fighting sleep procrastination. For instance, if the key reason for you to procrastinate instead of going to sleep is lack of “me time”, address this issue first. You should reconsider your schedule and think about how you can save some time to take care of yourself during the day. “Me time” is different for everyone, so identify what makes you happy and what you like. It could be 10 minutes of reading a book or going to the gym.

Create the Perfect Pre-Sleep Routine

The next step is exploring what your pre-sleep routine is. The wrong pre-sleep routine also makes it hard to get a quality night’s rest. As a result, you might not have enough reasons to fall asleep instead of scrolling your phone. You can use a fall asleep app that can greatly help improve your sleep quality and help you fight this habit. Other applications like mesmerize app bring a unique audio visual meditation experience to help clear your mind and relax before bed.

The pre-sleep routine should be soothing and prepare your body and mind for rest. Therefore, you should definitely reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption at least 4 hours before going to bed.

Make Your Bedroom More Sleep-Friendly

Your sleeping room should also create associations with sleep. Therefore, you should avoid using the bed for all activities instead of sleeping. Make your sleeping room calm and peaceful. You can use essential oils that help your mind relax. Make sure that the room is dark, so your body will release melatonin – our sleep hormone. Choose the right pillow and mattress since sleeping conditions play a great role in your final decision on when to fall asleep.

Turn Off Your Gadgets

And finally, yet, the most vital step is to avoid using phones, laptops or any devices at least 1 hour before sleep. If you are prone to sleep procrastination, it is best to put your phone in another room, so you will not have a chance to scroll through social media. In fact, the blue screen light may damage your inner clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Electronic devices are a common bedtime procrastination culprit.

Final Thoughts

Sleep procrastination is a common problem in modern society. After COVID-19, people were forced to work from home and manage their time on their own. And this has become a big problem for most. Lack of self-control and “me time” has led to sleep procrastination as most people seek a quality night’s rest. That is why knowing some simple steps can help them finally fight this behaviour and enjoy a restful night.

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