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Why do we procrastinate at bedtime?

October 20, 2022

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Why do we Procrastinate at bedtime

Have you ever tried to put a toddler or child to bed? Suddenly, it’s the busiest time of day with water needed and stories to tell, and fifteen-minute “goodnights,” not to mention checking for monsters. It’s not just kids!

Even with a small body of research surrounding it, scientists know that procrastination at bedtime is widespread. Most researchers believe it’s a phenomenon that appeared sometime after the development of television, cell phone, and computers. Here’s what we understand about the psychology of bedtime procrastination. 

There’s so much to distract us.

Every day we experience so much competition for our attention, and it’s not just your phone. We’re distracted by music, television, reading, and exercise; the list could go on. What matters is that we’re inundated with things to do instead of sleeping. 

“Revenge” procrastination at bedtime.

The term comes from a Chinese phrase and refers to young workers that tend to skimp out on sleep to make up for time lost to long work days. When we feel like all our time goes to everything but ourselves, it’s natural to want to make that time up. That’s often at the expense of sleep. 

A lack of self-control.

Some scientists believe our lack of self-control is what is causing our bedtime procrastination. Scientific American explains, “If self-regulation fails, an “intention-behavior gap”,—i.e., a gap between the intention and the actual behavior—can occur.” This can be one factor in our procrastination at bedtime. 

Culture, work, environment. 

While lack of self-control may be the most intuitive understanding of bedtime procrastination, many scientists reject that this is the only reason. A 2018 study showed that your chronotype, or when you prefer to sleep, is an indicator of procrastination at bedtime. Late chronotypes, or night owls, are more prone to procrastination than early risers. This finding is more pronounced when this night owl works a job that requires them to wake up early. They get tired later at night but are also expected to go to bed early enough for work, which causes procrastination. 

READ MORE: How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Need?

Another study examined demographic characteristics and the occurrence of bedtime procrastination. Surprisingly, they found no significant correlation between the place of residence, level of education, or domestic statuses of the participants. They did find that women and students were more prone to procrastination than their counterparts. In all, researchers have found that there aren’t any specific reasons to explain the occurrence of procrastination, and it can affect almost anyone. 

Want to learn how to kick procrastination at bedtime? Visit our next blog to find out. 

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