Do you find yourself delaying sleep? It’s your bedtime, but you stay awake for no definite reason?
Scientists call this ‘sleep procrastination’.
Maybe you’re busy online or you’re watching screen-based entertainment? Maybe you’re checking your devices, reacting to messages, etc? You’re busy reading this... watching that... Caught up in vaguely purposeless activity that absorbs your attention. Time goes by and you don’t go to bed.
You may even be in bed, but still you keep looking at an electronic screen, avoiding sleep for no particular reason.
Scientists have published dozens of research papers about this modern problem since 2014.
One early study warned about the outcome of sleep procrastination: “getting insufficient sleep and consequently affecting individual well-being".
If this is your habit, then observe yourself. Is this how you get stress relief after an emotionally taxing day? Or maybe you're distracting yourself from feeling depressed, bored, or unhappy about something? Or maybe you have simply exhausted all your willpower? Or maybe this is how you get some 'me' time?
Could this be the way you cope with being a 'night owl' type of person even though you’re forced to live an 'early bird' life?
Whatever the cause of sleep procrastination, sleep scientists warn about the result -- sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation risks undermining people’s health, their relationships, their goals, their job, their safety (accidents).
One study even warns that sleep deprivation increases the risk of death from almost any cause. (Sadly, this may be true!)
And yes, experts do offer good advice -- but probably the most useful advice is to pay attention -- observe yourself as you avoid bedtime.
If sleep procrastination is your habit, see if you can learn what’s going on. Enquire into your behavior. Ask yourself: "Why am I avoiding sleep?" “Why don’t I just let myself rest right now?” "Is what I'm doing really more important?"
After all, getting plenty of sleep is the best way to care for yourself at night. Your body wants to sleep. Let's give the body what she needs!
Best wishes for your Happy Sleep!