Sleeping Late Is an Underrated Form of Self-Care

It’s called "Revenge Bedtime Procrastination" and it helps me regain control of my life.
Photo: Courtesy of Keshia Naurana Badalge

It’s 10 PM and I have just changed into new clothes, made some noodles and a fresh cup of coffee, and jotted down a to-do list. It’s not that I have not done anything all day and need to catch up with work, more like I’ve been so busy that I never had time to do anything for myself. Until now.

I’ve been doing this for quite some time, purposely delaying sleep late into the night for some “me time,” and now a recent tweet has given me the vocabulary to express my nighttime habit: “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination.” Apparently, a Dutch university paper had coined the term “bedtime procrastination” in 2014 to explain how our lack of self-discipline results in us failing to go to bed at the intended time. When Chinese social media added the word “revenge” (becoming 報復性熬夜), it gave the phrase the additional emotional intensity it needed and went on to spark viral threads across social media.


For years I have procrastinated on going to bed in order to salvage from my packed day some precious hours of freedom. At night, I light a candle and I write. I watch videos for an online course I have enrolled in. (Botany! Gerontology! Asian Cinema!). I read. I draw. I water my plants. I respond to texts. (All my friends who get “Hi, sorry for the late reply was busy earlier in the day!” from me at 3 AM and wonder if I am in a different time zone — now you know what’s up.)