The psychology behind 'revenge bedtime procrastination'

Did you ever feel that your schedule, your resources, or even you belong to someone else? For hours and hours, days and days? Perhaps a natural feeling when you have a tiny baby dependent on you. But what about other contexts and especially the ones related to work?

Working long hours is a familiar feeling and not an exception in some countries, like China which has the 996 schedule — working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. This way of working also comes with a lack of control of daytime schedules and a powerful desire to regain that lost control.

But when?

You probably already guessed: at night, engaging in what is called “revenge bedtime procrastination“. Lots of research emphasized quite clearly the importance of sleep for our health and well-being, as well as time away from work pressure.

Can an employee gain more control over their schedule during work hours? Of course, they can. But how easy is it in a highly demanding culture? Are employers aware of the downside of such pressure? Can science bring more awareness and solutions to reach performance while being healthy? Indeed, essential steps were already made in the literature of recovery at work, micro-breaks, and stress management. Even so, the combination between a solid organizational culture encouraging employees to work very hard and the personal habit of engaging in pleasurable activities at night while reducing their sleep needs a more serious talk.