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Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

"Revenge of the Bedtime Procrastinators"

Sounds like the title of a bad zombie horror movie, doesn't it?

Today's topic is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. It’s a relatively new term for an old-time problem. Desperate to reclaim a little “me-time” that got lost amongst the demands and responsibilities of a long stressful day; we end up binge-watching Netflix or YouTube or prolonged scrolling on social media.

While time for enjoyment is essential, revenge bedtime procrastination does not come without consequences.

The Bad News

ADHDers are particularly susceptible to staying up too late, because of their struggles with:

  • time awareness

  • hyperfocus

  • turning off the dopamine infusion that ADHD brains are hungry for

  • transitions

  • the constant quest for stimulation

This, combined with the difficulties ADHDers tend to have falling and staying asleep (because of medication or an overactive mind), makes sleep even more crucial to thriving with ADHD.

Did Someone Say Spa Day?

Sleep is like a spa-day for your brain. Without enough of it; memory, focus, concentration and emotional regulation are negatively affected. And we all know what else affects these same skills - ADHD! Lack of adequate sleep also affects our immune systems and our metabolism .

Getting More of the Good Stuff

So how can we overcome this problem? Try one of these ideas:

  • Plan little pockets of “me-time” into your day. Even if it means sitting in the car / a park bench for 15 minutes before picking up the kids. My car was often my haven when my kids were little. Or plan a coffee break near a hard deadline, like a meeting. That way, you won’t have to use your own willpower to disconnect and move on.

  • Have a buffer activity between turning off technology and going to bed. What is something you can do that still feels like me-time, but is less entrapping than technology? Try reading from a book/kindle, drinking hot tea, listening to a podcast, doing a sudoku or jigsaw or playing solitaire - Something that is not using the blue light from a screen, as this interferes with melatonin production - the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

  • Ditch perfectionism. Going to sleep at a good hour 3 days a week will have a much bigger impact than trying to go to sleep early every night, failing and then giving up on the whole thing.

  • Sweeten the deal - make going to bed enticing. Buy new pillows, use an aromatherapy burner. Get a massage machine. It's amazing what a bit of wallpaper or paint can do to a room. Make your bedroom a beautiful place to be. Oh, and while you're at it, move that phone charger out of arm's reach!

  • Use accountability partners - If you don’t have a coach or someone to be accountable to, check out Stickk. You pick a goal and then can either put money on the line, get a referee to verify your reports or have supporters cheer you along the way.

I know there’s nothing like those quiet, peaceful hours where you can do what you want to do. And we’re not talking here about those of us who relish in the creativity that often comes in the wee hours of the morning. That’s a different struggle. Here, it’s all about balance. Getting a little more you-time earlier in the day and a few less late nights during the week.

What about you? Are you a revenge-bedtime procrastinator?

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