If you avoid going to bed at night, your mental and physical well-being will deteriorate.
Many people have a condition called bedtime procrastination. This is where the person delays bedtime and goes to sleep too late, resulting in sleep deprivation and the inability to function properly.
To prevent bedtime procrastination, make time for what you enjoy doing because this will stop you from feeling like you need to stay up too late.
To do this, prune unnecessary activities from your schedule and don’t work too late. Also, don’t put pressure on yourself to do too much.
Putting electronics away 30 minutes before bedtime and setting a regular sleeping and waking-up routine will enable you to tackle bedtime procrastination.
While this may feel like a slow and uncomfortable process, your internal body clock will learn to regulate itself, helping you fall asleep and wake up at more conventional times.
Why Do I Keep Going To Bed Later and Later?
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health said sleep is vital for body homeostasis and function. Going to bed too late has adverse health implications.
Sleep deprivation causes excessive daytime tiredness, poor brain function, and bodily process disruption, increasing the risk of diabetes, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
There are two main types of sleep-related procrastination:
- Bedtime procrastination: Delaying going to bed.
- While-in-bed procrastination: Delaying going to sleep while in bed.
The two types are closely correlated, meaning you can have one or both.
Sleep avoidance has many causes and names, including the following:
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
If you struggle to sleep at night, you may have “revenge bedtime procrastination.”
This condition is where sleep is sacrificed for leisure activities, like playing video games, watching TV, or reading books, that you otherwise don’t have time for during the day.
People in high-stress jobs who work long hours are likely to get revenge bedtime procrastination, as it’s their way of taking back control. It’s also most likely to affect:
- People who procrastinate in their everyday lives.
The term revenge bedtime procrastination comes from the idea that someone is getting revenge on daytime hours that don’t offer time for enjoyment.
Unfortunately, once someone gets into the routine of bedtime procrastination, sleep deprivation sets in and causes mental and physical health problems, sometimes with long-term consequences.
These factors are features of revenge bedtime procrastination:
- Delaying going to bed and reducing your sleep time.
- Lack of a valid reason for staying up late.
- You realize that going to sleep too late will have negative consequences, but you do so anyway.
Revenge bedtime procrastination is a habit you must break to end the no-sleep cycle.
Anxiety is often connected to sleep problems because that’s when people think about the things that worry them the most. Some people begin to dread bedtime and stay up later and later to avoid it.
Those with anxiety develop excessive distress that’s disproportionate to the situation. Anxiety interferes with everyday life and becomes a persistent fear that can’t be controlled.
Constant worry and fear when you go to bed make it near-impossible to fall asleep and remain asleep without waking up every few hours. Sleep deprivation can worsen anxiety, causing enhanced psychological issues and an endless cycle of anxiety and insomnia.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America, anxiety affects 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 in the U.S. Anxiety is just as common among adults.
Many people with depression struggle to sleep, so they stay up too late because sleep is futile.
Depression isn’t something people always realize they have. Even if they suspect they’re depressed, they deny having it to themselves. The most common symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness.
- Loss of interest in everyday activities.
- Sleeping pattern changes.
- Loss of energy and appetite.
- Anger or irritability.
While some people with depression sleep more, others can’t bring themselves to prepare for bed, so they procrastinate until they can’t stay awake any longer.
Somniphobia is an extreme fear or anxiety about going to bed. Other names include:
- Sleep anxiety.
- Sleep dread.
The cause is uncertain, but sleep experts believe somniphobia results from sleep paralysis or nightmare disorder. These sleep disorders produce distressing symptoms, making people fearful of sleep.
The main symptoms of Somniphobia include:
- Fear and anxiety when you consider sleeping.
- Increased distress levels as nighttime approaches.
- Staying up as long as possible to avoid going to bed.
- Panic attacks when it’s time to sleep.
- Difficulty remembering or focusing on things when bedtime approaches.
While somniphobia’s uncommon, people with the condition stay up as late as possible.
People with ADHD commonly have trouble sleeping and staying asleep throughout the night. ADHD causes restlessness that disrupts sleeping patterns. This makes it difficult to:
- Fall asleep.
- Stay asleep.
- Wake up.
Many adults with ADHA describe themselves as night owls who get a sudden burst of energy. They also find it difficult to shut their minds off to sleep, even when tired.
When sleep finally arrives, it’s restless and uncomfortable, making it a stressful experience. ADHD often goes undiagnosed, which could be why you go to bed too late.
Delayed Sleep Disorder Syndrome
Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) is when people find it difficult to go to bed until late at night.
If you have DSPS, the body is programmed to sleep and wake up around 2 hours or more than what’s considered a conventional going-to-sleep and waking-up time. The amount of sleep you get is normal (around 7-8 hours), but you can’t control the timings.
Specifically, people with DPSP find it difficult to:
- Fall asleep unless they go to bed later than most other people.
- Waking up at a conventional time due to their internal body clock not functioning properly.
People with the condition have a malfunctioning internal body clock. The hormone melatonin and lifestyle factors are largely to blame, but scientists are still seeking to identify the cause.
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is most common in teenagers, but people of all ages can be affected. Depression and insomnia are also closely linked to the condition.
How To Stop Sleeping Late at Night
If you find yourself going to sleep later than you should, you likely want to know how to stop staying up all night and sleeping all day. Make lifestyle changes and follow a sleep-time schedule:
If you procrastinate before you go to bed each night, you’re probably not checking when you fall asleep. This means your bedtime will be inconsistent and cause sleeping issues.
A consistent routine is among the best ways to stop sleeping late at night. The best way to do this is to:
- Choose a new bedtime and stick to it.
- Set an early alarm every morning and force yourself to get up.
At first, this routine will be unpleasant, and you may lie awake at night, struggling to sleep. However, setting the alarm and getting up as soon as it goes off will make a difference.
Eventually, it’ll regulate your internal body clock, and you’ll feel tired enough to fall asleep once your desired bedtime comes around.
Also, you don’t need to pressure yourself. Choosing a range of a few hours is better than worrying about going to bed and waking up at a specific time.
Ensure you don’t deviate too much from your new sleeping schedule at weekends, as it’ll slow the process down and hinder your progress.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors inside the brain. Adenosine is a sleep-promoting chemical that the brain produces when it’s awake.
The more it accumulates, the more tired we feel. Because coffee and other caffeinated drinks block the receptors, we remain awake and alert and struggle to sleep.
Alcohol is just as bad for sleep as it’s a chemical nervous system depressant.
While it causes brain activity to slow and has a sedative effect, alcohol can impact how well and long you sleep. When consumed in excessive quantities, it causes insomnia-like symptoms.
While you don’t need to cut caffeine and alcohol from your diet entirely, avoid drinking caffeine more than 6 hours before bedtime and drink alcohol in small quantities.
Regular aerobic exercise enables you to fall asleep faster. It also helps reduce daytime sleepiness when you haven’t slept enough. Good examples of aerobic exercises include:
- Brisk walking.
- Running or jogging.
- Exercise classes.
A way to measure the intensity of your workouts is to carry out the talk test. You should be able to talk during your exercises, but you shouldn’t be able to sing.
Adopting a regular exercise routine can also help you follow a better sleep-time schedule. Don’t exercise too close to bedtime because it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
While short naps don’t usually affect sleep, long naps too late in the afternoon can result in poor sleep quality at night and leave you with too much energy.
If you think napping causes bedtime procrastination problems, remove them from your daily routine to see if it makes a difference in how much you procrastinate at night.
Stop Using Electronics Before Bed
We waste time on our phones and laptops. The 2011 Sleep in America Poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 4 in 10 Americans take their phones to bed with them.
This could be why you’re reluctant to go to bed, as you struggle to tear yourself away from your devices.
Electronic devices affect sleep quality because they suppress the body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleepiness, which our bodies release so we feel tired.
A healthy biological clock operates on a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. As soon as the sun rises, our bodies start producing cortisol, which makes us feel alert.
Most phones and hand-held devices emit blue light, which delays melatonin production and encourages the body to produce cortisol. This makes you feel less sleepy and encourages further procrastination.
Avoid being on your phone for at least an hour before bedtime to give yourself time to feel sleepy.
Establish Bedtime Rituals
Build a better bedtime routine by establishing relaxing rituals to help you sleep.
A bedtime routine consists of activities you carry out around 30-60 minutes before bed at the same time and for the same length before you turn the lights out.
Doing so helps the brain recognize that it’s nearly time for sleep. Some activities include:
- Reading a book.
- Practicing breathing techniques.
- Light stretching.
- Playing music.
Bedtime rituals also reduce stress and anxiety, preventing worrying thoughts from setting in and stopping you from falling asleep.
They also allow you to do what you love, making you feel more fulfilled and less likely to procrastinate at night out of revenge.
Take a Warm Bath
The Cornell University Medical College explains how a drop in core body temperature before bedtime increases your chances of falling asleep. You can achieve this with a warm bath or shower.
To lower your temperature, raise it 90 minutes before you plan to sleep by taking a warm bath or shower.
Your body will detect the increase in its core temperature and respond by dilating the blood vessels and directing blood flow toward your skin. This releases heat, so you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
A warm bath prepares the body for bed, allowing the mind to relax, unwind, and remove negative or stressful thoughts. Using aromatherapy or essential oils encourages deeper relaxation before bed.
Drink Herbal Tea
The right tea can help you sleep and feel ready for bed. Herbal teas promote relaxation and reduce fatigue, improving your quality and length of sleep.
Some of the best teas for sleep include these herbs:
- Valerian root.
- Lemon balm.
- Magnolia bark.
Drinking herbal tea reduces your caffeine intake, making it easier to ditch coffee before bed. Turn it into a pre-sleep ritual and allow yourself to procrastinate while you brew and drink your tea.
As soon as you finish the beverage, start getting ready for bed. Doing so allows you to take five without the guilt of knowing you need to go to sleep.
How To Stop Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
While these methods improve your length and quality of sleep, revenge bedtime procrastination requires a more tailored treatment to get you in the right mindset for rest.
The condition doesn’t affect your tiredness, meaning you can be exhausted and still struggle to go to bed. To combat this, start looking at nighttime differently. Here’s how:
Time for Hobbies
Time slips away when you have a busy schedule, so make time for what you enjoy before bedtime.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by including too many activities at once. Instead, spread them out throughout the week for maximum fulfillment.
Remove Unnecessary Activities
Assess your daily schedule with fresh eyes to remove things that don’t offer joy or fulfillment.
While you can’t avoid all commitments, there’s always room to prune out things that don’t make you happy and are more likely to make you take revenge on daylight hours.
Set Achievable Goals
Set achievable goals when thinking about what you want to get out of each day.
If one of your goals is to paint a picture in your free time, don’t stress yourself into thinking you must start and finish it in one evening. This is unrealistic, leading to bedtime procrastination.
Less Working Hours
It’s easy to fall into the trap of working longer hours than needed, but this takes up your free time, giving you less chance to do the things you enjoy.
Finish work at a reasonable time, even if you haven’t ticked off everything on your to-do list. It’s always going to be waiting for you in the morning.
Another thing you could do is avoid meetings put in your diary too late in the day.
Meetings overrun, pushing your schedule out of sync, so block out your diary for the last hour of the working day to prevent colleagues and clients from scheduling meetings too close to home time.
Those with bedtime procrastination fall into a vicious cycle they can’t break. This eventually becomes their routine but causes problems staying awake and functioning properly during the day.