We’ve all been there – scrolling through our phones with our eyes barely open after a long day of work. Another busy day awaits us in only a few hours, but we fight to stay awake for some well-deserved me time. Our jam-packed schedules show that these late-night hours are finally our time to relax, but this isn’t self-care – it’s actually an unhealthy form of procrastination. Self-care is supposed to leave us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, but by doing this, we end up feeling even more depleted the next day. This self-sabotaging behaviour is called Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is a common occurrence among busy parents or caregivers, overworked students or employees, and people with anxiety or poor time management skills. It’s their way of ‘getting revenge’ for not having time for themselves during the day. They prioritise me time over sleep time for a sense of freedom and control. We all deserve a break, but these pauses should help us restore our energy not contribute to our burnout. Here’s how you can break this bad bedtime habit:

  1. Set a sleep time
    As adults, we’re recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Set a bedtime and a wake up time that meets this goal, and stick to this schedule as much as possible.
  2. Establish a wind down routine
    You should be getting ready for sleep at least an hour before bedtime. Avoid using any devices during this time, and instead engage in more relaxing activities, such as reading, meditating, journaling or listening to a podcast.
  3. Take breaks during the day
    When planning your day, don’t forget to schedule in time for breaks. Keep them short, around 15 to 20 minutes excluding meal times, but also make them frequent after short bursts of work, around 50 to 90 minutes.

We should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night in order to function at our optimal level. Not enough sleep can affect your overall health, so focus on setting boundaries and breaks during the day itself. You’ll also be able to experience control and freedom, while still feeling renewed and focused, by planning your time properly.

Sleep hygiene isn’t exactly brushing your teeth or changing your sheets, although those are healthy hygiene practices, the National Sleep Foundation describes it as the habits needed for good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. So if you spend more time tossing and turning at night, and feeling sleepy during the day, it’s time for some better bedtime habits. Here a few changes you can make to your sleep routine to help you fall asleep on time and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day:

  1. Start a regular sleep schedule

You should be going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). According to the National Sleep Foundation, one of the most important sleep hygiene practices is to have the right amount of sleep – not too little or too much, recommending a sleep range of 7 to 9 hours for adults. If you still feel like napping, keep it short between 20 to 30 minutes.

  1. Build a night time routine

This will help your body recognize that it’s time for bed. Try a relaxing skincare regimen (jade roll away your worries), and swap screen time for reading or journaling, and late night exercise for something more soothing, like stretching and meditating. See it as your self-care ritual – a well-deserved way to unwind after a long, busy day, but try not to treat yourself to any heavy meals or caffeine before bed.

  1. Create a calming sleep environment

The right atmosphere will have you drifting off to dreamland with ease. Start by investing in a good mattress and pillows – these, and a proper sleeping position, will allow you to sleep comfortably throughout the night and wake up without feeling stiff or sore. Set the temperature according to your needs and turn off all the lights (screens included) – if you’re sensitive to the morning light, consider a sleep mask or blackout curtains. You can also add to the ambience by playing white noise and using essential oils in a humidifier – lavender is known to be a natural sleep aid.