I mentioned sleep procrastination in last week's blog post 'a key function of sleep that we don't talk about' if you haven't read it yet, click the link to catch up.
Last week we discussed why we develop sleep procrastination, but what exactly is it? And, how can we deal with it?
Basically, sleep deprivation is going to bed later than intended despite nothing stopping you. I wanted to give you 3 key strategies to help you overcome and avoid it.
The features of sleep procrastination:
Going to bed later than intended
There are no external factors stopping you from sleep
Not going to sleep despite knowing that there will be negative consequences e.g. you will be tired tomorrow for that big meeting/social event.
Feeling a lack of control and frustration over your behaviour
Is this resonating with you?
OK, so what strategies can you use to overcome sleep procrastination and improve your sleep hygiene? Lets go...
Build in rewarding activities throughout your day. Sleep procrastination can result from being overly tough on yourself during the day. Trying to be productive all the time can actually have the opposite effect. Discipline and self-control is depleted from the challenges we face during the day and is lower in the evening as our brains start to really fatigue. If the evening is your only chance for your brain to have a true break, then you will want to stay up later than intended particularly if you feel your self-control is running low.
Make your evening routine rewarding. Dopamine released during reward plays a key role in remodelling connections between nerve cells and creating a habit. Have a rewarding aspect to your evening routine e.g. a good book or indulgent skincare product. Looking forward to your evening routine will act as an incentive to start earlier. Otherwise, your brain will gravitate towards other rewarding activities... like that Netflix Original series (we've all been there!)
Allow adequate time for winding down. Most people think they should be awake, then asleep. This encourages a sharp transition between the two states. Think of your brain like a racing car. The faster it's going, the more stopping distance it needs. Likewise, the more stressful and hectic your day has been, the more time you will need to wind down. Adequate time for winding down should be built into your routine. Feeling like you need to go to bed "straight away" while you're wound up can lead you to resist and procrastinate.
Try these strategies to create better sleep hygiene and notice the difference in your energy, mental health, motivation levels and self-control.