How to beat sleep procrastination
In this article, you will find out how to beat sleep procrastination.
But before we get to our advice, it’s important to define what is meant by sleep procrastination.
What is sleep procrastination?
Sleep procrastination is defined as not going to bed at the scheduled time, when there are no external circumstances preventing a person from doing so Kroese & al. (2014).
If this phenomenon remains between acceptable limits or if it is a question of specific behavior, the consequences on health are generally weak.
What are the consequences of sleep procrastination and what is social jetlag?
If sleep procrastination becomes a habit, it can have health and social consequences. In the latter case, we speak of social jetlag or social jetlag to indicate the difference between social time and biological time Wittmann & al. (2006).
Here are my quick tips for overcoming sleep procrastination:
1 – Realize that you have a problem
2 – Combine implementation intentions, visualization and mental contrast
3 – Improve your self-control by creating new habits
4 – Improve your emotional management
5 – Take time earlier in the day
What is the link between general procrastination and sleep procrastination?
Several studies now show that the phenomenon of sleep procrastination (Kroese & al., 2014; see Chapter 5, Bedtime procrastination: a behavioral perspective on insufficient sleep) is not only more likely to be initiated by people who procrastinate chronically in other areas of their lives, but also contributes to insufficient sleep and daytime fatigue, in the book Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being, SIROIS & PYCHYL (2016).
Discover my first tip now!
1 – Realize that you have a problem
Going beyond sleep procrastination requires first of all to realize that your behavior has become problematic and that if you do not change, you will pay a high price for your health.
Without this awareness, all the other advice will not be useful to you.
It’s not about dramatizing reality, but rather understanding that your behavior is under your control and that you can correct it if you wish.
To facilitate this awareness, I suggest you do a little exercise.
Operational tip: be aware of your current situation
Most adults need to sleep between 7 and 9 hours.
Record the time you go to sleep for a week, the number of hours of sleep you sleep each night and then calculate the total and divide by 7.
You will be surprised to see that you sleep very little and go to bed too late.
How do you feel when you look at these numbers?
Do you still want to feel tired all the time or do you want to change your behavior?
Now that you understand that you have a problem, you are ready to take action to resolve it using visualization, implementation intentions and mental contrast.
2 – Combine the intentions of implementation, the visualization and the mental contrast
Research that focuses on behavior change has shown the effectiveness of different methods to facilitate the adoption of better habits.
Among the most useful procedures regarding procrastination in general and more specifically sleep procrastination, we find:
- the intentions of implementation
- mental contrast
The combination of these methods has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing sleep procrastination.
What is the mental imagery?
Mental imagery is the process to visualize and perceive something mentally.
What are implementation intentions?
Gollwitzer (1993) shows that success in achieving an objective is facilitated not only by the definition of objectives but also by the use of implementation intentions in the form of an “if-then” plan which specifies when, where and how the person will establish solutions that will help achieve the goal.
What is mental contrast?
Mental contrast is a self-regulatory strategy that facilitates the pursuit of goals through cognition and motivational mechanisms. In mental contrast, people first name an important wish (for example, going to bed on time), then identify and mentally develop the best outcome (for example, feeling well-rested). They then identify and imagine the obstacle that could encounter (for example, the desire to continue watching videos on the internet). The mental contrast produces associative links between the desired future and the obstacle of present reality, as well as the obstacle and the behavior to overcome this obstacle (Kappes & Oettingen, 2014; Kappes, Singmann, & Oettingen, 2012), in the article Valshtein & al. (2019).
The effectiveness of the combination between mental contrast, visualization and implementation intentions
Valshtein & al. (2019) show that combining mental contrast with implementation intentions is effective in reducing sleep procrastination. Loft & Cameron (2013) show that by combining mental imagery with implementation intentions, have obtained greater improvements in terms of self-efficacy, sleep behaviors, sleep quality and sleep time. sleep.
The combination of these three tools maximizes your chances of success in overcoming sleep procrastination. Find out now how to use the results of this research to overcome sleep procrastination.
Operational tip: combine mental contrast, visualization and implementation intentions
Here’s how to use these three methods to limit sleep procrastination:
- decide when you want to go to sleep
- write your implementation intention, for example, if you want to go to bed at 10:30 p.m., your implementation intention may be: if it is 10 p.m., I will get ready to go to sleep
- define your mental contrast, that is, anything that can prevent you from respecting your intention to go to bed at the scheduled time. Your mental contrast could be: what can prevent me from going to sleep at 10:30 p.m. is: not having completed my evening routine, the desire to watch a video on YouTube, thinking about a negative event of the day , etc. Then, identify effective solutions to these problems in advance. This way it will be easier to defeat sleep procrastination
- visualize yourself going to bed at the scheduled time and feeling energized the next morning
- measure the difference between the scheduled time and the time you go to sleep, then find solutions to correct your behavior
By doing this, you will be able to reduce or eliminate sleep procrastination.
Now that you understand the importance of combining these three procedures to overcome sleep procrastination, you can move on to my third piece of advice, which is to use the power of habits to improve your discipline.
3 – Improve your self-control by creating new habits
Some research on sleep procrastination has explained this behavior as a difficulty in controlling oneself, being effective and giving in to procrastination by preferring a short-term benefit rather than focusing on the benefits of sleeping earlier and more.
Lack of sleep can reduce self-control (Baumeister, 2002a; Barber & Munz, 2011), and a lack of self-control impairs people’s ability to follow sleep-promoting behaviors (Kor and Mullan, 2011; Kroese et al. 2014; Loft and Cameron, 2013; 2014; Todd and Mullan, 2013; 2014; Sirois, Van Eerde and Agiroupoulou, 2015), in the article Nauts & Kroese (2017). In addition, Przepiórka & al. (2019) show that having poor self-control, low self-efficacy and having an evening chronotype are responsible for greater sleep procrastination.
Nauts & al. (2016), show that procrastination of sleep may depend on the dislike of tasks or routines that people must perform before going to sleep. In addition, Exelmans & Van de Bulck (2018) show that immediate gratification (watching television) would reduce self-control and therefore increase procrastination of sleep.
In a previous article, on how to improve your discipline, I talked about the effectiveness of habits in increasing self-control.
One of the best ways to build a new habit is to rely on the effectiveness of contextual factors.
Contextual factors are elements that will facilitate the implementation of a given behavior.
Operational tip: combine contextual factors and pre-sleeping ritual
Just think of everything you can do to simplify your change.
You can for example:
- set an alarm to remind you to get ready to go to sleep
- create an evening ritual to facilitate relaxation, for example reading a pleasant book, meditating, etc.
- move your smartphones, tablets and computers away at least 2 hours before falling asleep
Another effective way to create new habits is to create a pleasant pre-sleep ritual. Consistent with previous research, one effective way to reduce procrastination would be to make your evening routine more enjoyable by transforming it into some sort of greater reward compared to those offered by other sources of sleep procrastination.
You can create an evening routine:
- more pleasant than the temptations offered by what makes you procrastinate
- allowing you to be in bed at the scheduled time
- facilitating relaxation and falling asleep
By doing so, you will be able to strengthen your self-control by relying on the effectiveness of automatic behaviors and not only on your intrinsic motivation.
Now that you understand the importance of combining different habits to change your behavior, you can move on to my fourth tip, which is to improve your emotional management.
4 – Improve your emotions management
Sirois & al. (2018) show that people with greater self-compassion are more able to reinterpret events and therefore they are more able to better manage negative emotions. This would allow them to have less sleep procrastination.
As with general procrastination, better emotional management reduces sleep procrastination. This is because, as we saw in a previous article, the ability to forgive oneself for one’s own procrastination is an effective way to reduce it.
If you feel anxious in the evening before going to bed because you cannot help yourself from your problems, you will tend to go to bed later and have a lower quality of sleep. It becomes important to learn to develop your emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, understand and regulate emotions.
Here’s how to use this information in practice to reduce sleep procrastination.
Operational tip: use emotions to your benefit
In the evening, before going to bed, take the time to review the positive and negative events of the day. If a given situation is bothering you, it is important to become proactive to turn that situation to your advantage.
Here is what I recommend:
- identify the stressful situation by accepting what you are feeling
- give words to what you feel, you can write what you feel by giving meaning to this event
- reinterpret this situation giving it a more positive meaning
- feel the new emotion caused by the new meaning attributed to this situation
- plan an action that you will take the next day to better manage this problematic situation
In this way, you will be able to better manage your emotions because you will have gone from the role of victim to that of master of your emotions.
Now that you understand the importance of improving your emotional management, you can move on to my fifth tip for overcoming sleep procrastination, which is to spend more time in the day.
5 – Set aside time earlier in the day
Some people procrastinate because they prefer to spend time after a day’s work. If this is your case, you can organize your schedule to plan enjoyable activities for you earlier in the day to avoid going to bed too late.
The best way to do this is to plan these enjoyable wellness activities earlier in the day. Doing this requires not finding excuses for not spending time on yourself.
You can do this at different times of the day even if your schedule is a little busy. You can eliminate unimportant activities from your life or delegate them to other people to save time for you.
The best times to spend time are early in the morning, the lunch break, the extra breaks you plan.
If you wait until the evening after work to do what interests you, you will find excuses to procrastinate or you will have other personal commitments which will prevent you from respecting your wishes.
Here’s how to apply it in your life.
Operational tip: schedule time for you
Here is what I suggest:
- identify all the tasks you can delegate or eliminate and do whatever it takes to make time for what you enjoy
- make a list of activities that you enjoy doing but have so far postponed
- plan these activities in your professional agenda in the morning very early, during your lunch break and during other breaks if your work permits
- do what you love and celebrate your regained freedom
By doing this, you will reduce or eliminate sleep procrastination because you will have suppressed procrastination of activities beneficial to your well-being.
Conclusion on how to overcome sleep procrastination
In this article, you have discovered the results of recent research on sleep procrastination and practical tips to overcome sleep procrastination and improve the overall quality of your life. To have a time management coach accompany you, write us now using our contact form.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]