Procrastinating before bed? This might be why

By Katie Weinstein

Revenge bedtime procrastination is defined as the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure activities. The reason it is called “revenge” bedtime procrastination is to get back at the day time hours for stealing away free time. Many people are tired when going to bed and intend to go to sleep, but chose to binge shows on Netflix or scroll through hours of Tik Toks without an external reason to stay awake, meaning there is an intention-behavior gap. 

Since revenge bedtime procrastination is still a relatively new idea in sleep science, the underlying psychology explaining this phenomenon is still being debated. One explanation is that daytime workload depletes our capacity for self-control, so we can’t fight our urge to stay awake to participate in leisure activities even though it means we will be better rested for the next day. Another explanation might be that some people are naturally “night owls” and are forced to adapt to an early schedule, so this is their way of finding time to recover from stress. A third explanation might be that, during the pandemic, domestic and work lives are blurred as people work overtime hours and do not divide work time from leisure time. 

The reason that it is important to be aware of revenge bedtime procrastination is because sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can cause daytime sleepiness, which harms productivity, thinking, and memory as well causing physical effects such as insufficient immune function and increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

In order to prevent revenge bedtime procrastination, try putting away technology 30 minutes before bed, create a regular bedtime routine, avoid caffeine late in the afternoon, and find time for leisure activities during the day. It is also important to recognize when you need help managing your procrastination and your sleep problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with revenge bedtime procrastination or other types of sleep problems, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit

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