Procrastination in this day and age is unfortunately easier now than ever before and boy does it make our lives far more difficult and stressful than they need to be. How many times has the following scenario happened to you in the last twelve months? You’re sitting at the computer, ready to do some work or to finish a report that needs completing, but you simply cannot find the motivation to begin. You think of a variety of different excuses in your head that can justify you putting off the work, and before you know it, an hour has past and you’re now an hour behind schedule. You tell yourself “I’ll just quickly check Facebook for 10 minutes and then I’ll get started”. Twenty minutes later, after finally coming off Facebook, you tell yourself “I’ll quickly check my emails, that’ll only take a few minutes, then I’ll get started”. You check your emails, find an email from a website offering a 20% sale on selected items, decide to take a look, and when you eventually finish on there, you may decide to once again browse Facebook. Two or three hours will have now passed and you could have potentially finished all of your work in that time, but instead you haven’t even begun. This makes life difficult for you, but bedtime procrastination could potentially be harming your health.
What is bedtime procrastination? – Just like the example listed above, bedtime procrastination is basically the act of using mindless tasks and distractions to put off going to bed. Whereas before you had work or a report, this time your main objective is simply getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, you lie in bed, browsing the internet on your smart phone, playing games on your games console, or simply watching TV shows or movies that you don’t particularly enjoy. Before you know it, several hours have once again passed, your brain is stimulated due to the electronic devices and the content of the programs you were watching, and you end up going to bed far later than you should have, and getting far less sleep than you should have, which in turn could damage your health.
How can it harm our health? – We need sleep in order to function, it’s the equivalent of re-charging our batteries every night so that we function most effectively on the next day. Think of your body like the battery of your phone. Say it takes 8 hours to charge up to 100%, if you unplug it after 5 hours, it may only be around 60% charged. The same applies to you, if you get less sleep, you won’t function as efficiently as you should. Studies have revealed that individuals who get less than 7 hours sleep on average per night, are far more likely to die younger than those who sleep for 7 – 9 hours per night. When we’re sleep deprived our brains don’t function as well as they should and so we aren’t as focused or alert. Cortisol levels also increase in our bodies when we’re tired, which are responsible for stress, anxiety, and depression. Basically every internal function of our body sufferers when we’re sleep deprived which means our metabolisms slow down so we have less energy, gain weight easier, and struggle to burn calories, we feel tired and irritable due to the increased cortisol levels, and our organs simply don’t work as well as they should. All of this occurs because you would much rather watch pointless TV shows or movies, or find other distractions instead of going to sleep. If you wish to watch TV or play games, watch or play earlier in the evening, not until the early hours of the morning.