Have you ever heard of “revenge bedtime procrastination”?
It’s a relatively new concept but in a nutshell, it refers to the behaviour of putting off going to sleep in favour of “me time”.
Think mindlessly scrolling your socials, watching TV, playing video games, or for those old souls, reading a hard copy book.
Whatever it may be, it’s the idea that you are exacting “revenge” on all of your stressors and obligations by delaying going to sleep (in order to have more free time and personal enjoyment). Essentially, you don’t feel like you have enough control over your life during the day – a lack of free time or fun – so you have to fit it in at night. Sound familiar?
It’s super common. But it’s (rarely) ever worth it! Sleep is so important it almost scares me, lol (nod to my 3 and 1 year olds). I’ve written about it before here.
Remember this stat? Pulling just one all nighter has been shown to cause a 6% reduction in blood flow or oxygenation to the brain and as much insulin resistance as a type 2 diabetic 👀
I mean, not to mention: making you feel like you’re hungover, tired, cranky, more likely to crave carbs or sweets, have difficulty regulating your appetite, less motivated to work out, more prone to headaches or getting sick, brain foggy (and so on).
Ok, so what are we going to do to stop this unhealthy habit?
There are a lot of layers here.
#1. The first thing I think of is, who are you sharing your bed with?
The first step is making a commitment to yourself (to change the habit), the second is making sure those around you respect your wish to prioritize your sleep (I wish I could just tell my sweet baby Liv that 😂) . It’s great when a couple are on the same page. If your partner is a night owl and you like to go to bed together, something will have to give or find compromise.
#2. Second, commit to a consistent bedtime and wake time.
Even on weekends. This is key to establishing your circadian rhythm. Aim for 10 pm.
Did you know that cortisol (one of our stress hormones) is naturally lowest at ~10 pm at night (in a healthy state)? That is why so many patients find they need to be asleep no later than 11 pm or else they get a 2nd wind! We call this feeling “tired but wired”. You may still feel tired, but your brain is now wired.
Now, I said a healthy state…if you’re stressed to the 9s you may well have high cortisol all evening and at bedtime. (There are some really lovely herbs and natural therapies that can help curb this). This high cortisol can contribute to revenge bedtime procrastination because you may not feel sleepy. Some people are burnt out all day and then finally feel good after 8 pm and start doing all sorts of activities. This is a sign of low cortisol in the day and high cortisol at night.
We can test for this if needed (however, a lot of valuable info can be gleaned from your symptoms/history taking). It’s called the 4 point salivary cortisol test and checks your cortisol levels upon waking, 2 hours later, 5 pm, and 10 pm to assess your adrenal gland function. Or in other words, it shows us how your body is coping (or not) with chronic stress.
#3. Once you’ve worked these out, click here to grab my Make Sleep Your Superpower FREEBIE.
This comprehensive sleep guide covers the following sleep hygiene tips & routines:
#4. Reclaim your daytime hours.
This is really the crux of the matter for revenge bedtime procrastination: fitting more enjoyment into your day so that by bedtime, you don’t feel like you need to trade “me-time” for sleep.
Here are a few of my best tips for making the most of the day so you sleep better at night:
There’s more sleep content coming your way! Stay tuned to learn why “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” isn’t a good strategy & why the melatonin you’ve been buying hasn’t worked like you expected.
Subscribe to my email list & get the free Make Sleep Your Superpower ebook so that you don’t miss any of this special 4 part sleep series!
- Dr. Willow
I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.
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