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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and how you probably have it.

It’s pretty darn dark outside, and raining; I’m in my room, with the fan running and the tube-light switched on; I take a quick glance at the bottom-right of my screen: “04:17”. After berating myself for such obviously unhealthy behaviour for the next 3-or-so minutes, I, with the memory span of a goldfish, then proceeded to jump right back to where I was, probably browsing YouTube, or watching some anime, or some TV series, or some movies, or listening to some music, or...

Had it been a one-time thing, or a sparse occurrence, I wouldn’t be writing a 500+ worded article for ‘The Stephanian Forum’. And it’s highly probable that I’m writing this very piece quite late into the night too! (Oh, the irony!) Back a couple of years ago, I pushed the blame towards adolescence and teenage hormones, but now I am a full-fledged adult (no, not sarcasm), and have come to realise that this is a chronic issue.

As someone who ‘successfully’ goes to bed post 3 AM every single day, and getting only 4-5 hours of sleep while at it, it is something that I recognise as a serious threat to my health and well-being, yet am unable to do something about it myself. So as any 21st Century human would do, I immediately went to the aid of the internet, and found out about the term ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’. As defined by the ‘Sleep Foundation’, “bedtime procrastination or revenge bedtime procrastination is a psychological phenomenon, where people stay up later than they desire in an attempt to have control over the night, because they perceive themselves (perhaps subconsciously) to lack influence over events during the day. It describes the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.” It is something that stems from the lack of leisure and lack of control of my actions during the daytime, which I believe will resonate with a lot of people, especially teenagers.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” isn’t some offhanded comment that your grandpa made in your childhood days; when one loses leisure time in their life, they try to seek more ‘play’ by sacrificing their health, staying up for more hours, and sleeping for much less than the required minimum. And with the advent of the internet, it has become all the more easier to find newer ways to entertain yourself, with all the media in the world to consume right at your fingertips.

And no, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t my intention to blame everything onto the internet (like a certain generation); far from it actually. Doing so would be factually incorrect - a false causality – and a classic case of whataboutism. The problem arises, as I stated earlier, from a lack of control over one’s life, living a life that one has no input on.

And no, I don’t aim to provide a solution to this either; frankly, I’m not qualified to do so. Instead, the intention of writing this article was solely to raise and spread awareness about such a relatively unknown issue. Of course, with the magic of the internet, I shall provide sources to help people with similar conditions as that of mine. Hoping it comes in handy!


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