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Health & Well-Being

Sleep Corner: Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

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Do you find yourself scrolling on your phone and procrastinating sleep, even though you know that you’re tired and should go to sleep? Your desire to procrastinate sleep could be driven by the absence of leisure in your free time, resulting in something called Revenge Bedtime Procrastination (RBP). The good thing is there are things you can do to balance your workload, get back leisure time, and beat RBP!


What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination (RBP)?

The “revenge” aspect comes from the desire to stay awake at night to catch up on the free time you didn’t have during the day, as if taking revenge for all the leisure you missed because of your busy schedule. Procrastination can manifest in procrastinating getting into bed or procrastinating falling asleep after getting into bed. 

In the moment, after a long day of working and studying, it may feel nice to allow yourself extra time to unwind before bed, but it can become more harmful than helpful when you routinely find yourself doing activities that procrastinate falling asleep because you feel like you need to compensate for that day’s leisure time. Ultimately, this “revenge” or desire to make up for lost free time only hurts yourself and continues the cycle of business and exhaustion. 

Procrastination activities often manifest in increased electronic device use, which emit blue light that can further disrupt sleep. In addition, by prolonging your sleep, you rob yourself of rest that would allow you to complete the next day’s work more efficiently, pulling you into another cycle of RBP for the following day. Overtime, this can result in sleep deprivation, which would have negative impacts on your cognitive functioning, health, and mental well-being.

How to Overcome RBP

Instead of resorting to Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, you can instead focus on addressing the cause of your daytime stress. What are other areas of your life where you procrastinate, and how could addressing those instances of procrastination help you free up time for leisure and resolve your desire to procrastinate before bed? Are there areas you can take on less work in order to create a better balance in your day? It could also be helpful to develop sleep hygiene habits to strengthen your self-control and fight your desire for procrastination, such as having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, not using devices at least 30 minutes before bed, and creating a relaxing sleeping environment that would encourage you to go to bed. 

For additional sleep tips, check out the “Sleep Corner” in each edition of The Flourish.

Written by: Michaela Phan, Class of 2023


Stanford Resources

  • Well-Being Coaching: A well-being coach can help you establish and practice good sleep hygiene, including how to get on a healthy sleep routine, how to establish sleep strategies that work for you, and more! Schedule a meeting with them today so you can begin catching some Zzzs this quarter. 
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: If you are finding yourself frequently overwhelmed and stressed to the point where it affects other aspects of your life, for example your sleep, it may be helpful to meet with a CAPS therapist! CAPS offers individual visits, skills workshops, process groups, psychiatry services, community referral resources, 24/7 support, and crisis intervention. 
  • How to Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Learn 10 tips to help you practice good sleep hygiene. The Flourish, March 2022: Sleep Corner

Additional Resources