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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a new sleep problem that has been registered for a couple of years. However, it gained strength in the middle of last year (June 2020) due to a viral Tweet from Emma Rao, a young professional of Chinese origin who shared her experience on the subject and gave the phenomenon its name [1].

This phenomenon consists of the conscious decision to sacrifice a few hours of sleep to have time for leisure activities at the end of the day [2]. This problem has been seen in young professionals with excessively long working hours and high levels of stress, who do not have time for pleasurable activities outside of work unless they do so at the expense of sleep.

Although this syndrome has been registered mainly in Eastern countries, I think it is essential to talk about it because I believe it will appear more frequently in the West. Especially if we look at the long working hours that most young professionals work, which have increased since COVID-19 and new teleworking measures.

Therefore, I would like to talk about the three factors that characterize this phenomenon. According to the Sleep Foundation [2], to diagnose revenge bedtime procrastination, the following three characteristics should be present:

  1. A delay in bedtime, resulting in a reduction in total hours of sleep.

  2. The absence of a valid reason (external event or underlying illness) for staying up later than expected.

  3. The awareness that delaying bedtime can have negative consequences.

Additionally, this phenomenon can occur in two ways: when people delay going to sleep by doing activities out of bed. The other one is when sleep time is delayed once you are in bed.

Keep in mind that this is a recent phenomenon. Therefore, the precipitating factors and the long-term effects they may have - although they can be intuited - are not fully understood. So we will have to wait and see how it develops in the future. In the meantime, it seems essential to start educating companies and the general public about the benefits - in terms of performance and economy - of reduced working hours.

What do you think of this phenomenon? Have you ever fallen victim to something similar? Let me know in the comments below

Sweet dreams!



[1] - Liang, L.H. (2020). Qué es el "desvelo en venganza" que practican millones de jóvenes trabajadores en China. Recuperado de https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-55108600

[2] - Suni, E. (2021). What is “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination”?. Recuperado de https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/revenge-bedtime-procrastination

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