Bedtime Procrastination

Bipolar and sleep disruption

People with bipolar can have as much sleep disruption in a week that those without mood disorders will experience in a much longer time frame.  Mood swings can cause major changes in sleep patterns and disrupted sleep makes it much more difficult to maintain mood stability.  That’s why MoodSurfing offers so many resources about sleep and insomnia and why we treat sleep as one of the most important elements in maintaining health and wellness over the course of a lifetime.

People with mood disorders need to give serious attention to maintaining healthy sleep patterns, and to discipline themselves to keep to regular bedtime and wake times.  That’s why we were interested in an article in “Wired” this week that talked about a problem we haven’t heard described in quite this way before: “revenge bedtime procrastination”.

Turns out what people are doing is delaying bedtime even though they know it will make them feel worse in the long run, but they feel so pressured by their out-of-control lives that delaying bedtime is one decision they can control, so take that!  Even though it’s late, and scrolling doesn’t really get you anything you need or want to see, it still seems like you’re getting some of your own back by staying awake late.

Self-regulation and sleep

Patterns like these are found in people who have difficulty with “self-regulation”, that is, doing what you know you should do.  Researchers point out that people who are dealing with impulsivity or being easily distracted often come to the end of the day with thoughts and feelings that have built up and not been processed, so bedtime becomes synonymous with finding a flood of emotional baggage from the day keeping you awake.  It’s important to make time ahead of bedtime to process that day and “power down” by turning off screens, and taking time to look back and ahead before moving into bedtime routines and gradually tuning out for the day.

Sleep is one of the most important things you can control for your health.  It’s important to learn to feel in control by doing what’s healthy, not what’s unhealthy, and being in charge of sleep and waking patterns is one thing anyone can learn to do.  Especially at this time of seasonal change and, for many, a time change as well, it’s necessary to give a bit more attention to maintaining sleep patterns – that’s an investment in health that will pay back big in the long run!


For more information on sleep and sleep patterns:

Insomnia Treatment Recommendations

Daytime Anxiety Impacts Insomnia

Irregular Sleep Patterns and Depression

Melatonin and Sleep Disruption

Sleep and Temperature

Winter Insomnia