How to Prevent Sleep Procrastination—and Why You Should
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Sleep procrastination isn’t just a new-age term—it’s a real condition that, according to recent surveys, affects more than just kids who want to get in another episode of their favorite show before calling it a night.
The term itself is simple.
Sleep procrastination is described as the act of putting off bedtime, even when you’re tired and ready for restful sleep.
While the definition is straightforward, the causes are more multifaceted.
Do you regularly stay awake later than you want to, even when you’re tired?
Learn how to stop sleep procrastination in its tracks so you can get better sleep and wake up ready to take on your day.
The Causes of Sleep Procrastination
It’s not entirely clear what happens in the brain to cause us to stay awake even when our bodies are begging for slumber.
However, some causes are easy to spot.
Busy schedules and long days can leave us feeling worn-out—while also feeling like we haven’t accomplished enough to call it a day.
Even when we’ve knocked out our to-do lists and are physically in bed by, say, 9 PM, we often like to “treat ourselves” to our favorite Netflix shows as a way to unwind.
This can turn a healthy bedtime into an 11PM or midnight bedtime (and we still don’t feel like we’ve gotten a real treat!)
The Effects of Sleep Procrastination
You probably already know the dangers of not getting adequate rest.
WedMD notes that an increased likelihood of getting into a car accident, feeling grumpy and not performing at your peak in the office are all side-effects of lack of sleep.
Even lacking sleep by an hour or two each night can have a big difference on how we feel and how we interact with others (plus, how much caffeine we consume the next day!)
How to End The Cycle of Sleep Procrastination
The good thing is, the solution to sleep procrastination is pretty simple.
Set a bedtime, and stick to it! Easier said than done, right?
Here’s a few ways to make that a reality, starting tonight:
- Create a “bedtime ritual”: take a hot bath, brush your teeth, or have a cup of chamomile tea. Start your routine around the same time each night to train your mind that it’s time to wind down.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol 2 hours before you want to go to sleep (that goes for wine, too!)
- Use the bed for sleeping, not for scrolling through Facebook, watching TV, or reading. Avoid looking at screens starting an hour before you want to go to sleep.
Sleep procrastination is normal for many, in a world that teaches us that we must constantly be on the move in order to be considered successful.
Remind yourself that it’s normal to sometimes have trouble falling asleep, but that you’re learning how to make restful sleep a habit.
With a regular bedtime and proper rest and relaxation, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed—so you’re ready to take on your day.
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Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.
I’m certainly guilty of this. Even though I feel sleepy at, say, 9pm some days, I refuse to let myself sleep, insisting that I keep on moving and doing things, then sleeping later, during the night. The problem is, once I do end up falling asleep, it’s not for very long that I have to wake up again. It’s a bad habit that many of us are guilty of.
I’ve been getting better at going to bed at the same time every night. I feel so much rested if I do that and feel like a zombie the next day if I don’t.