I’m going to take a wild guess and blindly assume that you’re a really busy person who might not even have time to be reading this article, or at least, you have a million other things to do right after. Hustle culture runs the way most of us live nowadays, so it’s not uncommon for students and young adults to be constantly working or having jam-packed schedules filled with commitments, classes, curriculars and extra work.
Unfortunately for the economy, we are not machines and cannot function purely on a busy schedule or at some point, we will actually pass out. We might have evolved from hunting and gathering to being able to run companies and cram for very important midterms the morning of, but fundamentally, we are nowhere near the level of robots and automation when it comes to input and output ratios. At some point, our bodies subconsciously just need to take a break to recharge before we shut down.
That’s where the concept of revenge bedtime procrastination comes into play. It refers to the ill-fated decision someone makes where they willingly decide to sacrifice sleep for leisure and entertainment time. Despite the fact that they are fully aware that they will be a walking zombie the next day and will have mountains of work waiting for them (because hustle culture is a pain in the ass), they do it anyways.
One way to analyze this is by understanding why it happens in the first place. Your body and mind need to have a break at some point, so when you cram in a million errands and to-do lists during the day, there is no time left for you to unwind and decompress. As a result, you naturally avoid going to sleep to watch an extra ten episodes of that sitcom on Netflix because you think that you deserve to have this time for yourself after the day you’ve had. This also happens because self-control and self-regulation are very weak for most people at night.
You can basically see this as psychologically getting revenge on the lack of control you feel during daytime hours by taking back your time during the night. It’s a beautiful and insanely regrettable decision that just makes sense at the time.
Unfortunately, this puts you in a vicious cycle because you get less rest, and then you have less energy to tackle your workload the next day. You stay up again because you don’t get everything done in the day (and thus didn’t take a break) and keep repeating this cycle. Before you know it, you have turned into an actual zombie. Oh, and it also puts you at risk for a lot of other unfortunate things like deteriorating memory, a worsening immune system and potentially cardiovascular problems.
The key to getting revenge on revenge bedtime procrastination is taking back your time throughout the day. You’re not selfish for deciding to put your mental health first and choosing to not be a constant working machine for the economy. As cynical as it sounds, the world doesn’t care if you take breaks or not, so you need to make the decision for your own sake to take time back throughout the day. You need to start viewing breaks as an essential thing. Whether this means taking walks during the day, taking a mini-break after thirty minutes of working or whatever else, it’s time to start incorporating that into your routine. And in some cases, you might even have to consider taking more drastic measures, such as cutting down on curriculars or by communicating with your professors or managers to ease up on some of your responsibilities.
Right now, there is a stigma that breaks and leisure time are unproductive and lazy, but that could not be further from the truth. Understanding the role that breaks play during the day for your productivity and overall mental health will ensure you not only thrive in whatever you do and work more efficiently, but you will ultimately help get your sweet revenge on revenge bedtime procrastination and help you avoid engaging in it.