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How to Stop Revenge Bedtime Idleness and Get Better Sleep: Life Kit: NPR

Photo of a man lying on his side in bed at night.  His face is illuminated by his phone as he scrolls instead of sleeping.

Photo illustration by Becky Harlan / NPR

Photo of a man lying on his side in bed at night.  His face is illuminated by his phone as he scrolls instead of sleeping.

Photo illustration by Becky Harlan / NPR

My days often feel like bursting at the seams. Between work, taking care of my children and all the tasks it takes to make my house a complete mess, it can be difficult to find time to rest properly.

By the time I sleep, I am picking up my phone and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Even though I am tired and know that I am better off sleeping, I stay awake long before my bedtime. This behavior is called “revenge bedtime postponement.”

The idea comes from A Chinese phrase It describes the practices of sleep-deprived workers to engage in leisure activities as a way to compensate for long working days.

“We value productivity enough to pack our days,” says Lauren Whitehurst, a cognitive neuroscientist and sleep researcher at the University of Kentucky. Bedtime idleness of revenge, ”is really a kind of definition [our lack of down time.]“It’s not about that Incompetence Go to bed – this is to delay sleep in an attempt to assert some kind of control over your time.

It is more common for parents, shift workers, and those with high-stress jobs to postpone revenge sleep. Although this phenomenon is not new, many hours at home during the epidemic have made many people more aware of their sleep patterns – including the late-night moments that stole them for themselves.

But those moments come with a price. Inadequate rest “affects how you work at home, at home, and at school the next day,” says Dr. Carr, an expert in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Southern California. Says Raj Dasgupta. Keck School of Medicine.

Chronic insomnia has widespread effects on health. If we don’t get the full amount of sleep we need every night, it can disrupt critical physiological processes, says Whitehurst. Sleep provides a break for our cardiovascular system and boosts our cognitive abilities and immune system. “Cardiovascular disease can be predicted by how poor people sleep during their lifetime. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with insomnia. [one’s] In a lifetime, ”he says.

Here are some tricks to break the cycle of bedtime laziness and recover some precious sleep. And, remember: “Sleep is very personal Dr. Dasguptao says – So, if one strategy doesn’t work for you, try another.

Reserve your bed for bed – don’t get stressed

If you really can’t sleep, it’s best to get up from bed and take care of what’s on your mind before returning to your bed.

Photo illustration by Becky Harlan / NPR


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Photo illustration by Becky Harlan / NPR

If you really can’t sleep, it’s best to get up from bed and take care of what’s on your mind before returning to your bed.

Photo illustration by Becky Harlan / NPR

Sometimes getting up and doing the work that keeps you awake can help you fall asleep faster. “Go ahead and finish the job or [send] That email to your sister – whatever it is, you have to get out of your mind, “says Whitehurst.” [can] Try to fall asleep again. ”

If your stress about keeping you awake still keeps you, “Go ahead and get up from bed,” says Whitehurst. Walk around the house and wash the utensils or stretch them a little lightly – that will stabilize your mind.

“I do things that are naturally calming and I do any kind of work [I am ruminating on] Out of my bed, “says Whitehurst.” Most of the time I fall asleep again, and I go back to bed and I sleep well. “

Create a conducive environment for sleep

“Our brains The biggest indication of when to wake up and when to sleep is lightweight. ”If you get up from bed to relieve your anxiety, bright lights in the hallway or the rest of the house can interfere with your ability to guide your way through the night without over-stimulation while sleeping. Give.

Reducing how much light flows through the sleep environment helps promote better sleep. Consider installing blackout curtains or room-darkening shades in your bedroom. Cold temperatures can make sleep better, Dasgupta adds. If you don’t want to run an AC or a fan all night, try rethinking what you wear to bed. Experiment with what works best for you.

Narrow down your to-do list

Your work day is over, the family is having dinner and the kids have finished their homework. Are there 17 other things on your to-do list? Instead of staying up late to handle everything, choose one or two things and focus on them, Whitehurst advises.

The same advice goes for the activities you use to relax, Dasgupta adds. For example, instead of waking up at 2am to binge the final season of his favorite show, I stay awake an hour extra, “she says.” Maybe I’ll only watch one episode. “In other words, give yourself some grace – but keep an eye on preference for relaxation.

Make a bedtime routine – and stick to it

Parents know that a bedtime routine can help small children to get airborne before bedtime. Whitehurst says taking a warm bath, changing pajamas, and curling up with a good book before turning on the lights at a fixed time will work well for adults.

“You can create more regularity in your day, you can create regularity around your sleep… that is fine for you,” he says.

If you have trouble starting your sleep routine, try setting up a sleep alert to remind you when it’s time to start settling into the night.

Whitehurst says society doesn’t always make it easy, but it is important to do things under our control to prioritize getting enough sleep. “Being intentional [getting to bed at a reasonable time] It can really help you get more time for yourself, “she says,” but make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep. “

The audio portion of this episode was produced by Audrey Nguyen, with engineering support from Kwesi Lee. We would love to hear from you. Send us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 or email us at [email protected]

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