We’re no strangers to living off of minimal sleep. We’re sure that as students, you’re also familiar with this. A lot of us try to cram in a nice eight to nine hours of sleep in about five to six hours (or less) during peak assignment or exam periods. Unfortunately, unlike exam prep, cramming sleep doesn’t work the same.
At the start of every year, when things get busy, we find our sleep schedules creeping later and later into the night. It doesn’t help that we have no time to take a breather and do things for ourselves—our work and studies consume the greater part of our days.
So, at the end of the day, despite being tired, we find ourselves staying up just a couple hours more (even though it’s already 11pm and we said we’d have an early night) to watch a few episodes of that new Netflix show, to read another chapter of a book, listen to a podcast, or play a bit of a video game that just came out. Except “just one last one” always turns into a lot more.
This is the revenge bedtime procrastination phenomenon. You put off going to sleep to do the things that you didn’t have time to do during the day. Sucks, right? Looks like we procrastinate a lot more than just doing our assignments. But the thing is, as tempting as it is to do that every night, it leads to sleep deprivation the next morning—and the morning after that, and every morning after that if we continually procrastinate sleep.
Often when we think about health, sleep is somehow left off the list. But what some of us don’t realise is that cutting back sleep has really bad consequences on the other areas of our health. We’re easily irritated, we’re already mentally drained after waking up, and we have no physical energy to carry us to the end of the day.
There’s no denying that sleep is important, but we’re not here to judge. Health is a nebulous concept, after all. We don’t have an answer to resolving revenge bedtime procrastination (except maybe trying to break it every now and then?) because sometimes being irritable and tired is a fair trade-off for that precious alone time—to an extent, of course. Because you know what else makes us cranky? 12 straight hours of work and seven hours of sleep on repeat. Maybe the real issue is a world that seems to make it impossible to be truly ‘healthy’. Because why do we always seem to be sacrificing some aspect of our mental, physical, or emotional health to get everything done?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that health is holistic and looks different for everyone. Sometimes, health looks like watching your favourite movie, having a big phat cry, and three servings of fries. Sometimes health looks like staying up and having a bitch session with your bestie. Sometimes it looks like going to bed early. Only you know what your mind and body needs. So, here’s just a gentle reminder to pay attention to what you need. For us, that’s sleep.
Flora Xie (she/her) and Naomii Seah (she/her).