It's bedtime. Your work and chores are done. You have to get up early. You're tired. Yet...you still put off going to bed. You're a bedtime procrastinator. There are many reasons you may not be getting enough sleep—insomnia, sleep apnea, young children in the home—or...maybe you're doing it to yourself.
Researchers have recently identified self-imposed delays going to sleep as a factor in insufficient sleep and find that, like other forms of procrastination (work tasks, paying bills, etc.) it is associated with lower levels of self-regulation. So, if you tend to procrastinate in other areas of your life, you likely procrastinate about going to bed, too.
"Another interesting aspect of bedtime procrastination is that, while procrastination typically involves voluntarily delaying aversive tasks, going to bed is generally not considered aversive. Instead, we speculate that it is not so much a matter of not wanting to sleep, but rather of not wanting to quit other activities."
So what are you doing instead of hitting the hay? The study's authors speculate that electronic distractions such as laptops, phones, television, etc. may be to blame. In my own life, I have only a few hours of non-child time after my two kids are in bed and I often stretch out this time and delay going to bed. Is more time to myself a good tradeoff for missing sleep? No, probably not, but in the moment an extra hour of Tivo or surfing the web feels worth it.
So, are you a bedtime procrastinator?
→ Bedtime procrastination: introducing a new area of procrastination by Floor M. Kroese, Denise T. D. De Ridder, Catharine Evers, and Marieke A. Adriaanse in Frontiers in Psychology.
(Image credits: Natalie Grasso)