Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination


Phenomenon in which people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours.


While a Dutch University paper coined the term 'bedtime procrastination' in 2014, it was the Chinese social media addition of 'revenge' to term (報復性熬夜) that saw it go viral in 2020.

Everyday Use

This term likely cuts deep for many readers, myself included. It hits on something many of us have experienced without having a name for, much less an identification for _why_ we were doing it. Why stay up late, doom-scrolling on our phones, when we know that it will only hurt us the next day? And the response is precisely because we _can_. It's a small but overt effort to regain authority when we feel over-committed and confined to the finite hours of the day filled with tasks, responsibilities, and chores not directly of our choosing. This also, unfortunately does not point to a quick fix. Maybe we are in situations where we can wrest control of the hours of our day in a more direct fashion, but maybe we aren't — jobs, childcare, livelihoods on the line. Nonetheless, it's always important to find the thread from our tiny acts of resistance and autonomy to our realized selves. Change doesn't happen overnight — it make take a few sleepless nights in the journey to get there.