Reigning In Your Revenge Bedtime

Revenge bedtime, it’s a thing and it’s likely something you know all too well. It’s when you sacrifice your sleep in order to stay up later in the evening to get your “me time” in. We have all been there, finally we get to sit down and watch some Netflix now that the kids are in bed or scrolling on our phone aimlessly in bed because we need to disconnect from the day.

If you are leading an especially busy lifestyle, this might be affecting you even more because you feel all the more entitled to make sure you get your time to unwind because of your full days.

You might be thinking, so what’s the big deal with a revenge bedtime, so you go to bed a little later and get up a little later? The thing is the shift in this sleep schedule might actually lead to poorer sleep, all thanks to our stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol and melatonin play a role in regulating sleep-wake schedule. Cortisol tells us when it's time to be awake and melatonin tells us when it's time to be asleep. Cortisol is meant to spike at 6am to act as a jolt to help us get out of bed in the morning, then slowly decreases until 10pm at night where it's at its lowest. At this point it begins to slowly rise again to prepare us for our next early morning wake-up call. Melatonin, the hormone that signals when it’s time to be asleep, has the opposite pattern where it is lowest in the morning and throughout the day, however it starts to rise after 6pm, to help us get ready for bed.

So how is this affected by our revenge bedtime? When we are trying to make time in the evening to unwind, we often don’t get to bed before 10pm, which means our cortisol will be on the rise again when we are trying to get to sleep. This can lead to a second wind late in the evening, usually around 10pm to midnight, which can make it harder to fall asleep. I know personally when I was struggling to get my cortisol levels back in control, I would be exhausted all the time except for these bursts of energy later in the evening, where I would be cleaning my floors, meal prepping or catching up on work as the clock struck midnight. As you can imagine, this wrecks havoc on your sleep schedule and leaves you exhausted the next day.

So how do you solve this revenge bedtime issue while still getting your much needed me time? Instead of unwinding by spending hours watching mindless TV or scrolling on your phone, be intentional with your bedtime routine. You can create an evening routine that leaves you feeling relaxed and ready for bed and most importantly, refreshed and ready to take on the day in the morning.

To help you break the vicious cycle on your revenge bedtime, try out these tips:

Shift your schedule 15 minutes at a time. Slowly transitioning to your ideal bedtime and wake-up time not only will help your body adjust a little easier, but it will also mean the habit is more likely to stick. I recommend adjusting your sleep times by 15 minutes every 4-7 days.

Roll your bedtime back before you change your wake-up time. Before you start drastically changing your morning wake up time, start moving your bedtime ahead. This way you will be getting a little more sleep than normal, which I am sure we could all benefit from. Again this will make the transition a bit easier.

Set a bedtime reminder alarm. We have all been there when we are relaxing and enjoying our evening, only to realize that it’s past midnight and we meant to be in bed hours ago. Set an evening routine to remind you that it’s time to start your relaxing bedtime routine.

Create an enticing bedtime routine. You won’t put off your bedtime if you make your evening routine something you can’t wait to do. Think of it as a way to pamper yourself and celebrate a day well done. The right bedtime routine will not only help you to relax before bed, it can also act as a trigger for your body to switch into sleep mode. Pick things that bring you joy, but avoid anything that is too visually stimulating, like bright or artificial lights, and anything mentally stimulating, like work, or watching the news. Your bedtime routine should be tailored to you but here are some ideas to inspire you:

  • Bath

  • Diffuse essential oils (chose those shown to have calming effects like lavender, chamomile, neroli or bergamot)

  • Read

  • Gratitude practise

  • Meditation

  • Journaling

I hope this helps you to reign in your revenge bedtime and lets you realize the benefits of creating an intentional evening routine. Next blog we will be focusing on creating a morning routine that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Okay maybe jump out of bed is a bit extreme, but at least it will make you want to pull back those covers and stop hitting the snooze. Stay tuned.

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