Admit it. You’ve spent hours scrolling on your phone, and then it is suddenly 2 am. You promised yourself that you would go to bed at a decent time. Why does this happen again and again? Perhaps you don’t have enough time for yourself. When you forfeit control of your life to your boss, work, school, and family, you tend to rebel. By staying up, you reclaim your time, looking for any opportunity to let go of responsibilities.
In many cases, it is a way to reduce stress and revolt against the constant demand of everyday life. However, too much screen time and not enough sleep do not lower stress levels in the long run. Instead, they can put stress on the body and disrupt the mind. Although you are trying to destress at night, there are plenty of ways to destress before it gets too late, so that you don’t procrastinate on your bedtime.
Procrastinating on sleep is your revenge
Revenge bedtime procrastination is when you spend all day working long hours or are just busy all day and feel deprived of adequate “me” time, using the late-night hours to enjoy yourself. You prolong your bedtime as a means of reclaiming control of your life. The twilight hours have been a host to online shopping, gaming, social media, and Netflix. Now that you know you are not alone, let’s kick this self-destructive habit with mindfulness and following the steps below.
Notice the negative impacts
Lack of sleep negatively impacts your mental health and lowers your life span. Sleep-deprived people tend to eat more, make poor choices, feel more depressed, suffer from anxiety, and generally are less productive. Sleep has a crucial role in the recovery of our body and brain, preventing dangerous diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and hormonal problems. It can advance the signs of aging, causing sallow skin, puffy eye bags, and fine lines. Lack of sleep breaks down the collagen in your skin, making you look years beyond your age. We do not always give sleep the priority and importance it deserves because the negative impacts are not always immediate. You already know that staying up too late won’t do you any good, but your lack of mindfulness and planning prevents you from making the change. Your health and youthful appearance can’t last forever. Now is the time to hold onto it.
Set a bedtime
You already know that scheduling your day is the best way to manage time, but do you keep a schedule after business hours? Plan in your “winding down” time, so that it happens well before bedtime. Your deadline is your bedtime, and you must respect it. Set a reminder alarm on your phone for your decompress time, whether it is Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or reading a book. This intention establishes mindfulness to complete all activities by a specific time. The more consistent you can keep your sleep schedule, the better. Repetition turns action into a habit.
Change your mindset
Be honest about how you decompress after a stressful day. If you are doing less than healthy actions such as drinking wine, binging Netflix, or excessive scrolling on social media, the first step is acknowledging that this is your reality. Ask yourself if this is the best way for you to practice self-care. Reframe the way you see your “me” time. A bedtime ritual can genuinely be a self-care practice if you see it from the perspective of pampering yourself. Try taking pleasure in preparing dinner, enjoying the aromas, and putting care into the meal that nourishes your body. Appreciate the joy in cleaning and creating a beautiful home for yourself. Maintaining a clean and tidy bedroom will help improve sleep. When your habits bring you joy, they no longer feel like chores.
You will always make room in the day for what you consider to be a necessity. Start scheduling at least one activity a day that is a personal interest of yours. For example, use your lunch break to take a yoga class or go for a walk. Though work and life may seem like two opposite sides of a spectrum, each one supports the other. To mitigate stress, you must learn how to plan your time effectively. You cannot do everything, but you can do all the most significant tasks that align with your goals and values, including the activities that bring you happiness. If you make time for what you enjoy throughout the day, you won’t feel deprived of your “me” time later.
Be aware of screen time
Screen time before bed sabotages your night. Set your bedtime reminder on repeat or tell your Google Home or Alexa when to set your morning alarm to prevent you from using your phone to set your alarm. Set another alarm an hour before bedtime as a reminder to disengage from any social media and screens. Activate night mode on your devices in the evenings to reduce exposure to blue light. Blue light reduces melatonin production, which throws off our circadian rhythm. Keep your phone away from your nightstand and remove the TV from the bedroom. Minimizing distractions in the first place will help you avoid having to resist them. A quiet, cool, dark bedroom invites sleep. TikTok has a wellness program where they tell you to go to sleep if you have been scrolling for hours and it is the middle of the night. This customer-first culture sets them apart from other social media platforms, creating brand trust with their audience.
Pay attention to what you eat before bed
Avoid caffeine and sugary foods close to bedtime. For some, caffeine should be avoided as early as 2 pm. The stimulant affects the mind by disrupting its ability to remain calm. Fried foods and heavy meals will overwork the digestive system making it difficult to rest well. If possible, eat a few hours before laying down. If you crave something sweet at night, snack on cherries, which are a natural source of melatonin. Magnesium-rich foods can set you up for a good night’s sleep because magnesium binds to GABA receptors in your brain (simulating to a sleeping pill). Include bananas, almonds, leafy greens, and salmon into your diet during the day to improve sleep later on.
Make time to wind down
If we eliminate time to wind down, it becomes more difficult to fall asleep. Instead, watch your shows and look at your phone well before your “wind down.” When you wind down, engage in non-electronic activities such as reading, listening to soft music, or meditation before bedtime. Try journaling while lying in bed and write down all the to-dos and things on your mind so you can let them go. It will allow worries and stress to escape the mind and ensure you won’t forget about them. Incorporating a stress-relieving activity before bed will make you feel more balanced over time. Though it may seem less appealing than entertainment initially, the disciplined practice will bring rise to a much more fulfilling joy.
Establish a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine facilitates the transition from waking state to sleep. The body prepares itself as you prepare for bed. Your dental care routine, skincare routine, and putting on pajamas signal to your body that it is time for sleep. It might help you relax by taking a hot shower with essential oils. Try incorporating meditation before you get in bed or read one chapter of an enjoyable book. Do these in the same order every night to establish the foundation of habit.
The bottom line
The first step in overcoming anything is making a plan. Every practice starts with an intention; this will motivate one to follow through with the actions that support the goal. Take time to contemplate the areas of your life that feel unfulfilled. Identify what brings you satisfaction and joy and make more time in your day for those things. When we constantly sacrifice our happiness for things we think we should be doing instead, we negatively affect ourselves and those around us. Hobbies ignite our passions and allow us to share that light with others. Examine your mindset around chores and see each task as a gift to your higher good. Take pleasure in washing your face and brushing your teeth. Allow yourself to lay in bed without needing to be occupied. Receive the moment inviting you to do doing nothing as a gift for all of your hard work throughout the day. It is never too late to reformat your habits to support a healthier lifestyle. Every change makes a difference.
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