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Rebels without a cause

26 February, 2021

Are you guilty of late-night scrolling that ends up hindering your sleep? If so, you’re not alone.  

Many of us fall prey to algorithms that know what will keep us consuming online content. But the phenomenon of ‘revenge bedtime procrastination is the purposeful practice of self-sabotaging in this way. It’s a concept that originated in China – though understood globally  referring to the practice of reclaiming control, after 9am-9pm, 6-days-a-week working hours, by sacrificing sleep and staying up late into the night to get that all-important ‘me time’.  

In the short-term, less sleep makes us prone to consuming more sugar and caffeine to counteract the sleeplessness and, in the longer-term, to increases in anxiety and depression. So, whilst it can feel like an empoweringly rebellious way to get much-needed down-time, this behaviour can actually exacerbate the feeling of powerlessness in the long-run.  

In our sleep, we process our emotions and experiences, which resets us for the next day. So forgoing sleep can make us feel less certain and more negative about our jobs or our personal situations than we would if we prioritised proper rest.  

We need to realise that sleep time equals me time. So, if you’re a revenge bedtime procrastinator, clawing back some sleep time could positively impact your outlook. But if you want something to rebel against, why not see it as resisting the algorithms that enable your bad habits online? Focusing on our health and what we can control (without self-sabotaging) could provide some of the freedom that we crave. 

By Cara McEvoy

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