I'm sure I'm not the only one whose sleeping schedule has been messed up since the lockdown began last year. When the pandemic hit, our company enforced an indefinite WFH set-up, and while I'm definitely grateful (and privileged) for this, it felt like the work hours became longer. Since I'm working on my desk just a few feet away from my bed, it was like the line between work and rest became very blurred.
Since I was going way beyond the normal work hours, the few hours I have left after I time out, I spend on relaxing—even if it meant sleeping super late and waking up stressed out the next day. It turns out, there is actually a name for this vicious cycle: Revenge bedtime procrastination.
According to a TikTok explanation by Sam DeMase, a career confidence coach from New York, you tend to stay up late at night after a really long day at work because "you are craving that free time and time you can spend doing whatever you want." She explained that people whose workdays are filled with "a lot of negative energy" would rather sacrifice their sleep in exchange for me time as a way of taking "revenge" and regaining control of lost time. She also said that it may be a sign you're experiencing burnout with your job.
Some researchers from the Netherlands first defined "bedtime procrastination" back in 2014 as "failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so." Two years later, this concept resurfaced on China's social media platforms, but with the addition of "revenge," making it bedtime revenge procrastination or bàofùxìng áoyè.
It definitely makes me feel seen knowing there's an actual term for this vicious cycle. But since revenge bedtime procrastination can be a sign of job burnout (and it definitely is for me), I'm going to take this as a wake-up call to be more mindful of my coping mechanisms. If you're going through the same thing, don't worry if you still find yourself struggling—we're all just trying to survive in these strange and weird times.