Viral TikTok Explains ‘Revenge Bedtime Procrastination’

tired man reading on phone before bed

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is a fancy term for the phenomenon of not going to sleep even if you’re really tired, just to get some free time to yourself. According to Glamour magazine, the phrase was popularized by millennials and Gen Z in China, which literally translates to “sleepless night revenge.”

Watch this TikTok video that explains it:

why is this me every night🧍🏽‍♀️
@samanhaiderrwhy is this me every night 🧍🏽‍♀️#fyp #foryoupage #desi #brown #sleep #psychology♬ original sound – Saman Haider

Parents are known to do this, after putting the kids to bed. You’ve been running all day and you’re exhausted, but you fight sleep like a little kid avoiding bedtime. Instead of turning out the lights, you scroll on your phone.

It’s a feeling of lack of control or too many demands on your time and your revenge is you steal that time from sleep. We all need some recharge time where we’re not rushing, in charge, and can do whatever we want. And we’re not choosing sleep.

Saman Haider, a 20-year-old pre-med psychology student at the University of Iowa, made the TikTok video that went viral. It obviously hit a nerve with people. The video has been viewed over 13.6 million times and there are thousands of comments from people who relate. It’s become a trend aided by tech that is too tempting to ignore. Plus, we just want more control in our lives. So our sleep suffers.

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The pandemic has made this experience worse as many people are often more isolated from their community, friends and have less social gatherings. At the same time there are more stresses and loneliness. This is escapism. And like Samatha in the comment above, this is how we get a break from conflict in our lives. Or maybe it’s the demands of our focus that make us reach for things that bring us pleasure without having to think about it.

Our bedtime gets pushed back once again.

But the solution adds more problems. Chronic lack of sleep can bring on depression, make you sluggish and less able to focus. So if this is you, hopefully you can break this habit. How? Take more breaks during the day. Plan new habits to replace the one at night. Meditate, go on a walk at lunchtime or take a bath after dinner. Look for ways to slow down enough during the day to get some free time. Try to avoid talking on your phone and focus on it being a recharge.

I once worked at a company that had beautiful gardens. During good weather, my co-worker and I walked there after lunch. We forgot we were at work and just enjoyed the beauty and some light exercise. It was a ritual that I looked forward to every day. When the weather was bad we hit the company gym for a light walk on the elliptical. It really helped reduce stress.

Have you practiced Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? Let me know in the comments. And if you’ve overcome it or reduced the time you spend in that mode, let us know what worked for you. 

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