Focus on Fatigue

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Issue #69 – May 2021

Welcome to Focus on Fatigue!

Do you suffer from revenge bedtime procrastination? In this month’s Focus on Fatigue, we will look at what it is and how you can beat it.

Sleep well!

The FRMS Team



InterDynamics Pty Ltd
320 Adelaide Street Brisbane Qld 4000
Tel +61 7 3229 8300

Views expressed in articles and links provided are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InterDynamics (except where directly attributed).


Revenge Bedtime Procrastination


A new term has recently emerged and is circling the internet: ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’.

Where did the term come from?

The term seems to have originated out of China by workers who work the 996 schedule (working from nine in the morning to nine in the evening, six days a week). They coined the term ‘bàofùxìng áoyè’, which translates ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’ or ‘retaliatory staying up late’. Use of the term spread rapidly last year after it was shared on twitter; obviously striking a chord with many!

What is it?

Revenge bedtime procrastination describes the phenomenon where people put off going to bed to carve out ‘me-time’ at the end of a busy day. For many, too tired to do anything intentional or productive, this time is spent mindlessly scrolling social media or watching tv.

Why ‘revenge’?

Those who work long hours can feel like they have little control over their time and are left with no leisure time. As a way of getting ‘revenge’, or fighting back, on this lack of control and free time, they stay up late.

What we know about bedtime procrastination

While the term ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’ may be relatively new, in 2014 a study by Dr Kroese was the first study to present bedtime procrastination as a possible cause for insufficient sleep. The study defined bedtime procrastination as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so”. This research concluded that “bedtime procrastination appears to be a prevalent and relevant issue that is associated with getting insufficient sleep”. Kroese also makes the point that bedtime procrastination is a particular challenge, as it occurs at the end of the day, when people typically have less mental energy or self-control strength.

Further research in 2018 found “that people who attempted to resist more desires (during the day) were more likely to engage in bedtime procrastination, suggesting that people may be less likely to stick to their intended bedtime after a particularly taxing day.”

How to stop self-sabotaging your sleep

Recommendations to combat bedtime procrastination often involve implementing a bedtime routine and practising basic sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a regular bedtime, having a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, avoiding screens before bed and avoiding caffeine in the hours before bed.

However, as revenge bedtime procrastination also has to do with a feeling of lack of control over one’s day, or lack of ‘me time’, finding ways to carve out such control and time in one’s day can also help. Perhaps by going for a walk during a lunch break, or adding some intention into the way time is spent after finishing work. Look at what is important to you, and intentionally make time for this, even if it is 20 minutes.

Employers can also help by recognising the importance of work/life balance and providing greater work flexibility.



  • Kamphorst, B., Nauts, S., De Ridder, D. & Anderson, J. (2018). Too Depleted to Turn In: The Relevance of End-of-the-Day Resource Depletion for Reducing Bedtime Procrastination. Frontiers in Psychology. 9, 252. http://doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00252
  • Kroese, F., De Ridder, D., Evers, C. & Adriaanse, M (2014). Bedtime procrastination: introducing a new area of procrastination. Frontiers in Psychology. 5, 611. http://doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00611
  • Kühnel, J., Syrek, C., & Dreher, A. (2018). Why Don’t You Go to Bed on Time? A Daily Diary Study on the Relationships between Chronotype, Self-Control Resources and the Phenomenon of Bedtime Procrastination. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 77.
  • Suni, E., (2021). What is ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’?, Sleep Foundation,


In the News

Provided below are a selection of articles from around the web on the issues associated with fatigue. We hope you find them useful and interesting.

Moonlight may affect sleep cycles

Harvard Health Publishing, April 2021
A recent study found that people fell asleep later and slept for less time over all in the three to five days leading up to a full moon.

Sleeping too little in middle age may increase dementia risk, study finds

Pam Belluck, NY Times, April 2021
The research, tracking thousands of people from age 50 on, suggests those who sleep six hours or less a night are more likely to develop dementia in their late 70s.

New study sheds light on how boredom affects bedtime procrastination and sleep quality

Eric Dolan, PsyPost, April 2021
New research suggests that the inability to be mindfully attentive to the present plays a role in compromised sleep quality. The study also indicates that boredom is an important predictor of bedtime procrastination.

Leave a Reply