Revenge bedtime procrastination, as defined at Sleep Foundation, is “the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure time that is driven by a daily schedule lacking in free time.” Anyone who has broken dawn playing a video game can empathize with this. Speaking as someone currently blogging at 4 A.M., I understand it all too well.
Describing the “revenge” activity as “leisure” may understate the degree of drive behind it. Human bodies and minds demand time for rest, recuperation, and autonomy. Not just one or two of those, however, but all three. Involuntary rest can prove stressful. Involuntary recuperation is more akin to convalescense. Involuntary autonomy is an oxymoron. We humans need to experience all three of our own volition in order to truly and deeply recover from a hard day.
You might struggle to overcome the drive for “revenge” bedtime procrastination. Sleep hygiene can help but only so much, especially if you can’t fully implement it (e.g. because of city life or children). Cutting back on other activities to make room for sleep contradicts the core goal of exercising more autonomy. But even then you may discover that, push come to shove, you can drop some of your preferred activities, if only until you can get your sleep back in check. You may find yourself dropping those activities entirely. And the ones you hold fast to may be worth keeping more than you realize. Just because it’s a leisure time activity, that doesn’t mean it’s not essential to your personal recovery and long-term health.