Parents, are you ‘revenge bedtime procrastinators?’

If you stay up late after a busy day running a household and taking care of your kids, you might be engaging in “revenge bedtime procrastination.”

Revenge bedtime procrastination, also known as “sleep procrastination,” is when you put off sleep to make up for the little to no time you had to yourself during the day. This can look like scrolling through your phone, bingeing television, or reading — all way past your bedtime — as a way to delay sleep.

People who participate in revenge bedtime procrastination want to sleep but put it off because of a lack of free time during the day. Everyone — especially parents — deserves a few hours at the end of the day to wind down, but few parents feel they can fit in some well-deserved rest and relaxation. A Pew study shows that 74% of surveyed parents of children under the age of 18 sometimes feel “too busy to enjoy life.”

At the same time, sleep deprivation is a main feature of parenthood. Studies show that sleep quality and duration decline during the first three months of postpartum life and don’t fully recover for up to six years after the birth of a child.

The effects of sleep deprivation

While losing sleep is a sacrifice many parents make, it’s important to prioritize sleep when and how you can because the effects of sleep deprivation can affect your mental health and ability to parent. At best, not getting enough sleep can result in grogginess and irritability.  But in more severe cases, sleep deprivation can activate your stress hormones, impair your ability to think clearly and can ruin your mood. It can even be a trigger for depression and anxiety. 

So what can parents do if they’re participating in revenge bedtime procrastination?

Well, since revenge bedtime procrastination is rooted in a lack of free time during the day, coping strategies should focus on making room for more “me time.” Consider self-care to be just as important as any other task, and actually schedule relaxing activities into your calendar. And this doesn’t have to be a full day at the spa, either. Activities that take 10 to 15 minutes, like a short walk or phone call to a loved one, can amp productivity in the long run. 

Most important, remember that you’re worth the investment. Taking time for yourself will benefit both you and your kids.

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If you enjoyed this story, check out this funny dad on TikTok who isn’t here for complaints about being ‘tired’ — unless you have kids!

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