Sleep Science • Article

Revenge Sleep Procrastination

Jennifer Nelson

Share this article

Pushing off sleep to squeeze more into your day? Read for insights on what this does to you, and ideas for more “me time".


Busy all day with work and the kids? Then when the house is finally quiet, you stay up for hours reading or binge watching your favorite show? Now you're running on empty the next day. What gives?  


A recent tweet mentioned the phenomenon that we all know in one way or another: revenge sleep procrastination, coined by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Revenge sleep procrastination is when you put off or procrastinate going to sleep to squeeze a little bit more out of your day.  


It's precisely what Kate Hanley, host of the "How to Be a Better Person" podcast, and author of the book of the same name, identified in her life: “I was staying up late in search of alone time in quarantine." 


Hanley said she was constantly feeling exhausted and crashing hard at night. Still, she felt compelled to get alone time again the next night. It was a vicious cycle that soon became a pattern.  


Revenge Against Yourself?

Revenge sleep procrastination is prevalent in our society — whether we are parenting or working a lot (or both). We are craving some downtime before going to sleep: time to read, watch TV, talk with a partner or just chill.  



“If you're following someone else's orders all day at work or school, then cleaning, cooking, helping a spouse and taking care of kids, it's easy to feel like you're the only person in your life who doesn't matter," says Aimee Daramus, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Chicago. “Like your life belongs to everyone except you."  


Whatever your reasons, you push past your normal bedtime, procrastinating on sleep. But the "revenge" you're exacting is ultimately against yourself.  


Since getting good quality — and quantity — sleep should be a top priority for your physical and mental health, revenge sleep procrastination is not the best habit to practice regularly. Science shows us that quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental well-being. It makes us more emotionally stable and resilient, and better equips us to handle challenges throughout the day. Loss of sleep or poor sleep could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds and other illnesses.


Quality sleep is a natural immune booster, helping our focus, mood and ability to manage stress. Compared to average sleepers, Sleep Number® bed owners enjoy almost an hour's more sleep per night.*   So, what can we do if we feel like we didn't get enough me time in our day?  


Take Back Your Time and Control

Putting your own wants first — even for a short time — can make a real difference, Daramus says. “A half an hour or so before bed to do whatever you want can restore a sense that you matter."  


If you're not getting enough me time, it's easy to put off bedtime — one of the only things you can control. Of course, you don't want to miss out on too much sleep, but a little revenge sleep procrastination can feel like a much-needed break. “Maybe you crave time for a hobby or just the sound of silence," says Daramus.  


In any case, make sure you're not procrastinating on sleep to avoid other issues.   “If you feel like your life is out of your control or you don't matter, you might need to change things," she says.  


For example, do you need to set boundaries with family members? Change jobs, get more help with childcare or carve out extra me time in the evenings?  


Here are other things you can try to take back your time and control:

  • Read a novel or take a walk on your lunch break

  • Make dinner prep less time consuming by planning ahead, putting something in your instant pot or slow cooker, or ordering healthy takeout

  • Make a point of connecting with your partner or family in the evenings

  • Recognize days where you didn't get enough me time and validate those feelings so they don't build up

  • Limit yourself to one weekend night that you can extend your bedtime (a little!) On weekends, Sleep Number® SleepIQ® sleepers go to bed 36 minutes later and wake up one hour later than during the week. They also get 29 more minutes of sleep on the weekend.**


Procrastinating on Sleep? Avoid Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Daramus warns if you're having minor lapses in memory or difficulty concentrating, you might be chronically in need of more quality sleep. The damage from sleep deprivation is cumulative.  


On the other side, quality sleep helps with your cognition, energy levels, and immunity. It also improves the time it takes to recover from exercise, so you don't want to put it off chronically. Adapt your sleeping pattern to what works for you. “The best thing I've done for my sleep is to get up early," says Hanley. “I have to wake up and get to it. No puttering around or lazily reading."  


Now Hanley goes to sleep by 10 p.m., gets things done early in the day and says it's reduced her stress now that she's not worrying about where she'll find the time with the kids' home 24/7.  


If you have a bed with a built-in sleep tracker, like the Sleep Number 360® smart bed, pay attention to your restful time in bed and notice how actions you take during the day impact your sleep quality that night. These insights will start to help you prove what's best for your body, and tune into the right bedtime and wake time for you.  


Curious how you compare? The average bedtime of Sleep Number® SleepIQ® sleepers is 10:29 p.m. and average wake up time is 7:10 a.m.** If you want more ways to to assess your sleep routine and improve your sleep habits, take the Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number®; a free 30-day online wellness plan to improve your sleep habits so you learn to create a routine that works for you.


Results show 82% of participants experience better sleep quality while 74% improve or change a poor sleep habit. Creating better sleep patterns can help you break the cycle of revenge sleep procrastination.  


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental well-being. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provides proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number bed, log into your InnerCircle Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.  


*Based on self-reported hours of sleep from a general population survey compared to our SleepIQ® data.


**Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/1/19 to 1/1/20.


Share this article