Can't stop yourself from staying up late?

Published 3 months ago • 3 min read

Newsletter #5:
March 01 2024

My face when I realised it's Friday afternoon and it's newsletter day!

Hello, my sleep friends

I’m writing this 15 minutes before my power-down (technology-free) time begins. I worked Friday this week, which threw me out of my schedule! But honestly, it works with today's topic because if you're experiencing this, you're probably still up.

Today share one of my favourite sleep conversation starters: revenge bedtime procrastination.


Weekly Update

Struggle to go to bed on time?

You are not alone.

Imagine this...

It’s morning, you’ve had a coffee, and you're getting the kids up and ready for school. You drop them off, then head to work, sipping on your protein shake along the way (you’d prefer a cooked breakfast, but there is no time for that).

The end of your eight-hour day comes; you pick up the kids from after-school care, grab some groceries on the way home and start the kids on their homework while you start to get dinner ready. In between, you are putting laundry on, tidying, and helping the kids out.

Once dinner is cooked, you eat together, then tidy up, and it’s time for the kids to prepare for bed. When they finally hit the hay, you’re doing another cleaning spot - it’s easier to do small chunks to stay on top of it. You check your emails, pay some bills, check your social media, shower, and set yourself up on the couch. Time to hang out with your spouse and wind down.

You start watching your favourite show on Netflix, and you know there are only 60 minutes until bedtime…so you watch one episode and then think hmmm, let’s just see how the next one starts. Two more episodes and 90 minutes later, you’re well and truly past your bedtime.

You go to sleep with your alarm set for the normal time, knowing you will have less sleep than you need but being aware that you don’t have the luxury of a sleep-in. You spend the next day tired....but end up staying up past your bedtime that night, too; rather than Netflix, you’re scrolling funny reels.

You wonder what’s wrong with you; why can’t you just go to sleep on time?

What you are experiencing is revenge bedtime procrastination.

Delaying sleep in response to stress or a lack of free time earlier in the day

This happens when people delay going to sleep because they are stressed and/or don’t have much free time earlier in the day.

Staying up late to do what you want gives you a sense of control that you don’t feel in your life.

I didn’t make up the story above. That's how many days of my life go, and I know for myself that when I don’t get to have any downtime, unfocused time, time alone, time for myself - or a combination of all of these things - it ends up in late nights and sleep debt for me.

I still get stuck in this trap, but not as often as I used to. By establishing regular sleep-wake times, I could wake up early and do what I wanted to do earlier in the day.

Understanding what might be driving that for you is the first step to making a change.

So, if you struggle with revenge bedtime procrastination, is it because you are stressed and/or don’t have much free time earlier in the day?

Depending on your answer, you might need to introduce some stress management strategies, boost your recovery practices and carve out small moments in your day to fulfil your needs - find a way to take control back.

Sometimes, the benefit of staying up late outweighs the need for sleep. For example, when the triplets were younger, Lyall and I could spend the only time together was later at night. We chose to sacrifice sleep some nights to spend time together. But not every night, and we'd give each other opportunities to nap the next day.

I hope you found this one interesting; I certainly did when I first discovered the concept!

I realise now I'm finishing this; I promised to dive deeper into stress and share more about our “stress response" this week - I completely missed my brief, haha. Sorry, team, I will circle back for that.

Sleep deeply and dream big!

Your favourite Sleep Coach,



My website has some great resources to help you get the best sleep.

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