Valley doctor says 'Revenge Bedtime Procrastination' has gotten worse amid the pandemic

Posted at 4:58 AM, Mar 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 09:11:14-04

PHOENIX — Dr. Katie Stage with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, said "revenge bedtime procrastination" is a new name for behavior that has been around for quite some time.

"The concept is that you go to bed or you think you're going to go to bed, you pick up your phone and then you start scrolling... usually through social media, you know, for much longer than you want to," Dr. Stage explained. "And then what happens is, you don't go to sleep on time and you're tired the next day, you know, and then maybe you keep doing it over and over because you're too tired to do other things and I think it's definitely worse in the pandemic... like so many things, a lot of the activities that we might have done before are less accessible and so we can control this... the idea of it being procrastination is the sense of that trying to gain control over something in your life where life has maybe changed a lot."

Dr. Stage said we are continuing this type of behavior because we are craving attention and connection. But, she does not believe we will leave a scrolling session feeling satisfied. She believes it often leaves people feeling worse.

"If we don't get enough sleep, we get really dramatically negative outcomes," Dr. Stage explained.

She listed some of those outcomes to be, negative mood, declining performance in work or school, unstable emotions, headaches, and weight gain.

So, how do you stop the revenge bedtime procrastination? Dr. Stage said, you cannot just stop a habit like this suddenly. She said, to be successful - you should look to replace this bad habit with a more positive one.

"You're going to have to choose something that can give you some meaning or some connection to do instead of this," Dr. Stage explained. "... So, my recommendation is something like, you know, either set aside a time every day to maybe connect with a pet or a family member or a friend, but build that time in early enough to so that you can feel like you've done that... you've achieved it and then when it's bedtime, you'll feel a little bit more satisfied that you've done what you wanted to do."

To learn more, visit the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.