Covid and why we might be putting off going to sleep

WE all know that feeling when, in bed, we lift our eyes from Facebook or Insta and see that it’s well past the hour for beauty sleep.
We may argue that it’s the only time we get to ourselves, especially with the pandemic having everyone in the family under each other’s feet 24/7.
Scientists call this phenomennon sleep procrastination revenge, first cited in a study in the Netherlands seven years ago and which defined is as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so”. Revenge was added to the title last year with the coming of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.
According to Alessandra Edwards, a performance expert, quoted in a report on the website Wired revenge bedtime procrastination is quite common in people who feel they don’t have control over their time (such as those in high-stress jobs) and are looking for a way to regain some personal time, even if it means staying up too late.
“When it comes to the evening, they categorically refuse to go to bed early, at a time they know will suit them best and enable them to get adequate restorative sleep and feel better,” Mr Edwards told Wired. “Nevertheless there is a sense of retaliation against life, so there is an idea of revenge to stay awake and do whatever fills their bucket.”
Scientist Floor Kroese, an assistant Professor in Health Psychology at Utrecht University and the main author on the study that first introduced bedtime procrastination, notes that there is also a link between procrastinating in daily life and sleep procrastination. “An interesting difference may be that people typically procrastinate on tasks they find aversive—housework, homework, boring tasks—while sleeping for most people is not aversive at all,” says Prof. Kroese. “It might be the bedtime routines that precede going to bed that people dislike or just that they do not like quitting whatever they were doing.”
According to Wired, Prof. Kroese and team argue that lack of self-regulation — associated with personality traits such as being impulsive or easily distracted — is a possible cause of sleep procrastination.
For those unable to self-regulate, Alessandra Edwards saysthat the time before bed may be the only time to process the emotional backlog from the day, including “frustration and anger, or fear and anxiety they may have felt during the day but shut out.”

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