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Sleep and Revenge

We all know that research consistently points to sleep for good health, but as parents, sleep can feel like another task we don’t have time to do.

There’s a phenomenon called Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.

While we don’t know who came up with this phrase, it is connected to shift workers in China who coined the term ‘bàofùxìng áoyè.’ 

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination happens when you sacrifice your sleep in an effort to find more leisure time.

Sound familiar?

The kids get to bed, you feel the energy shift in the house which tells you that they are asleep for the night, and then a hush falls over you. No one needs anything from you. You can be a person and finally serve your own needs.

Except you’re too exhausted to exercise. Your brain is too fried to read a book. You’ll just fall asleep if you meditate. So, you scroll.

You scroll Netflix, you scroll social media, the news, or you scroll emails.

We tell ourselves that this leisure time is self-care. We feel like we need control of the remote or time to get lost in our TikTok feed more than we need sleep. All we want is some time to not be responsible, right?

And right now, sleep feels like the responsible thing to do, so we push it off and justify scrolling. I get it. Yet some part of you knows, sleep is what you truly need. 

Here’s what I want you to try. Next time you feel inclined to push bedtime to do anything other than sleep, I want to encourage you to do 3 things:

  1. Look at your evening to-dos and ask yourself what you can do alongside it to make it a little more fun. Maybe you can play your favourite songs while you finish up the dishes?
  2. Go ahead and watch a show or scroll on any platform you like. But for a limited time. Stop at the 30-minute mark if it’s social media and one hour if it’s a show. You can watch the rest tomorrow!
  3. Make a decision to commit to your sleep every day. Over time you will feel the profound benefits of this routine.

The truth is that anything that needs to get done will get done when it becomes truly necessary. The bills will get paid, the laundry will get done, and the shows will be watched. It might sound like I’m telling you to procrastinate, but I’m not.

What I am asking is that you take a moment to ask yourself what’s important now and prioritize accordingly.

Hint: Sleep is a factor at every level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, so we need to take it seriously.

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