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ADHD and Bedtime revenge procrastination: breaking the Cycle

By: Amari Leaphart, MAMFT



Are you finding it hard to fall asleep even when you're tired, all because you're scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV shows? If so, you might be experiencing revenge bedtime procrastination—a behavior that's particularly prevalent among individuals with ADHD. In this post, we'll explore what revenge bedtime procrastination is, how it affects your mental health, and practical steps to break the cycle.

What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

Revenge bedtime procrastination is when you delay going to bed as a way to reclaim personal time that you feel you missed out on during the day. This self-sabotaging behavior usually involves engaging in activities that are not urgent or necessary, such as browsing the internet, watching videos, or playing games.

For people with ADHD, the concept of time can often be elusive. The day may fly by in a series of chaotic events, leaving you feeling like you didn't have any "me time." By the time evening rolls around, you may feel compelled to stay up late to finally do things for yourself, even though it means sacrificing sleep.

How it Affects Mental Health

While staying up late might seem like a harmless way to get in some extra personal time, it can have severe consequences for your mental and physical well-being, especially if you have ADHD.

Sleep Deprivation

Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, making it harder to focus, stay organized, and manage time effectively. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to severe issues like anxiety, depression, and even cardiovascular problems.

Increased Stress and Anxiety

When you don't get enough sleep, your body's stress hormones—like cortisol—can go haywire, making you more susceptible to anxiety and stress. This can create a vicious cycle where stress and anxiety further disrupt your sleep, and lack of sleep increases your stress levels.

Impaired Cognitive Function

A lack of sleep can severely impact cognitive functions like memory, attention, and decision-making. For individuals with ADHD, who may already struggle in these areas, this can make daily tasks even more challenging and frustrating.

Breaking the Cycle

Understanding that revenge bedtime procrastination is a coping mechanism can be the first step toward breaking the cycle. Here are some practical strategies to help you regain control of your evenings and improve your sleep quality.

Set a Consistent Bedtime

Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. Setting a consistent bedtime helps regulate your internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Develop a calming pre-sleep routine to signal to your brain that it's time to wind down. Activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness can be helpful.

Limit Screen Time

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to limit screen time at least an hour before bedtime and consider using blue light filters on your devices.

Prioritize Tasks and Set Boundaries

Learn to prioritize your daily tasks and set boundaries for work and leisure activities. This can help you feel more in control of your time during the day, reducing the urge to reclaim it late at night.

Seek Professional Help

If you find it challenging to manage your ADHD symptoms and bedtime procrastination on your own, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can offer effective strategies for managing ADHD and improving sleep habits.


Revenge bedtime procrastination is a common issue for individuals with ADHD, but it doesn't have to control your life. By understanding its impact on your mental health and implementing practical strategies, you can break the cycle and enjoy restful, restorative sleep. Take the first step today to reclaim your evenings without sacrificing your well-being.

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