Up Late for No Reason? Sounds like Revenge Procrastination

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What is the impact of revenge procrastination on your relationship?

When people forego sleep in order to have more free time, this is known as “revenge bedtime procrastination.”

People who engage in revenge procrastination are able to “get back at” their days, giving them no opportunity for crucial high-quality leisure time.

By pulling couples away from their preferred nighttime patterns, vengeance procrastination may destroy relationships.

Couples who engage in revenge procrastination may be trying to secure some much-needed couple time.

It’s past midnight. You could retire to your bed. Instead, you’re scrolling around Instagram, doing chores around the house, and binge-watching “just one” more episode of your latest show. The hours are ticking away, and you’re savoring your late-night freedom. In truth, you’re savoring the luxury of unrestricted leisure, despite the fact that the longer you stay, the tougher the morning will be.

What exactly does “revenge bedtime procrastination” entail?

Welcome to “revenge bedtime procrastination” (also known as “revenge procrastination”), a practice of postponing sleep in exchange for the pleasure of some free time. This isn’t about staying up late for a specific project, a party, or because you know you’ll get a good night’s sleep the next day. This is giving up sleep in exchange for some leisure time. Delaying bedtime, according to SleepFoundation.org, is considered revenge procrastination if:

Sleep deprivation. When you retaliate for procrastinating at bedtime, your late-night arrival has the effect of shortening your sleep, resulting in less total hours of sleep.

Staying awake just for the sake of having more leisure time. Your bed is available and really comfortable, and you have no compelling need to remain up late. You don’t have any work-related demands that require immediate attention, you aren’t concerned about a major event the next day, and you aren’t unwell. With friends, parents, and children, everything is well. Simply put, you’re staying up late in order to have more free time.

You are fully aware that you should retire to your bed. A key feature of revenge bedtime procrastination is awareness. You know it’s not a good idea to stay up late, but you’re having fun, so you keep putting off going to bed. The pleasure of a few minutes (hours?) of free time is so great that you are willing to give up sleep to get it.

What’s the point of retaliatory procrastination?

Staying up late instead of getting some much-needed rest appears to be a self-destructive habit: you’re setting yourself up for a miserable day tomorrow. It does, however, serve a purpose. Revenge procrastinators exact their vengeance on the days that do not provide them with the amount of free, flexible time that they seek and require. Leisure time is an integral component of psychological health and well-being, not an indulgence (Kuykendall, Boemerman, & Zhu, 2018).

When your days don’t enable you to have uninterrupted minutes of freedom—minutes that are exclusively yours—vengeance procrastination may feel worthwhile, despite the repercussions.

Procrastination as a Pandemic: The Rise of Retaliatory Procrastination

The recent increase in focus to revenge procrastination could be a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s day-to-day alterations. We may still be socially distant, but rest assured: you’re not alone in your vengeance procrastination. Other folks are up and plotting vengeance on their own days. If your typical waking hours are filled with oppressive work schedules, poor work-life balance, or constant demands from bosses, children, or family, you may be seduced by the seductive temptation of staying up late just to own part of your time.

Procrastination as a form of retaliation rarely works.

Unfortunately, the majority of people’s revenge procrastination activities are unlikely to be deemed high-quality leisure activities. Watching TV or using social media alone, for example, does little to improve overall happiness (Kuykendall et al., 2018).

Experiential leisure, the type of leisure that may satisfy numerous psychological demands, is what we need. Leisure activities that are genuinely motivated and freely selected, such as social time, sports, art, and creative endeavors, are the ones that meet a wide range of demands. Experiential leisure detaches people from their stress, giving them a break before they return to their stress management. High-quality leisure activities can help people feel more in control of their lives while also fostering a sense of mastery as they develop skills and competence. Feelings of social connectedness are aided by high-quality leisure.

In many ways, vengeance procrastinators are reacting to a dearth of “excellent” leisure opportunities during the day. They’d do it if they could do intrinsically motivated, high-quality leisure during the day! Staying up late is a balm (although an inadequate balm) after a stressful, all-encompassing day when you can’t own your time and can’t engage in therapeutic, need-fulfilling leisure during the day. For a few while, you are in charge of your own time.

Retaliate against your procrastination and your relationship.

Women are more inclined than males to procrastinate in retaliation (Herzog-Krzywoszanska & Krzywoszanski, 2019), a trend that may be amplified now given the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women. This could indicate that women, rather than men, go to bed after their partners on a regular basis as a form of vengeance procrastination.

According to new research, nearly 80% of couples would want to go to bed at the same hour, even if they don’t usually do so (Drouin & McDaniel, 2021). Mismatched bedtimes are associated with decreased relationship satisfaction, maybe because matching bedtimes represents togetherness and provides an opportunity for emotional connection at the end of the day.

But what if you get even and procrastinate with your mate as a kind of retaliation? While viewing TV alone may not provide much in the way of need fulfillment, couples who watch TV together before night report being happier with their evening routines, which may translate to higher relationships and overall satisfaction (Drouin & McDaniel, 2021). To put it another way, cooperative revenge procrastination may theoretically benefit couples. This may be especially true for couples who find it difficult to spend quality time together during their typical waking hours, which is crucial for relationship health.

The fact that revenge procrastination shortens sleep is probably the greatest direct consequence of revenge procrastination on relationship quality. Sleep deprivation causes moodiness, impulsivity, a lack of patience, and a lack of cheerfulness, as we all know. Indeed, studies reveal that sleep-deprived persons have less emotional empathy for their spouses and have a greater negative affect, which leads to poor conflict resolution (Gordon & Chen, 2014; Guadagni, Burles, Ferrara, & Iaria, 2014).

How to avoid retaliation procrastination

When all you want is some of your own free time, resisting the desire to revenge procrastinate is especially difficult at the end of a long day. However, establishing a consistent earlier bedtime that allows you to get enough sleep is critical.

One method to avoid revenge procrastination is to create a new sleep routine on purpose, even if it’s difficult at first. Make a step-by-step plan for getting from your day to bed calmly (with no technology nearby). After a short period of time, behaviors become automatic, and going to bed will no longer require effort (and not revenge procrastinate). Plus, sticking to a new nighttime pattern may be simpler after a few days of more restful sleep.

Procrastination for revenge is a symptom that some of your psychological requirements aren’t being addressed throughout the day. If at all possible, consider what you can do to incorporate leisure time into your daily or weekly routine, whether alone or with your partner. If that’s not an option right now, keep in mind that a good night’s sleep has far more advantages than an hour (or more) of senseless late-night procrastination.

How Procrastination Can Reflect Childhood Experience

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