It probably goes without saying that you’re super busy most days. So busy, in fact, that by the time you’re ready for bed, you feel like a zombie. But if you’re like a lot of people, it’ll be a while before your face actually hits the pillow and you drift off into dreamland. After all, you still need to Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, call your Mom and play with your cat before you hit the hay.
Now researchers have a name for your conundrum: bedtime procrastination. A recent study from Frontiers in Psychology found that the phenomenon, which the authors define as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so,” was related to insufficient sleep. Using an online survey to study 177 people, researchers in the Netherlands found that bedtime procrastinators put off sleep not because they wanted to stay up later, but because they didn’t want to stop doing whatever it was that was keeping them up in the first place.
No judgment here, folks, but the researchers also noted that those of us who suffer from this modern-day malady also have problems with self-regulation. “As bedtime procrastination seems to be a self-regulation problem, we speculate that dealing with distractions (a typical case of self-regulation) would be one of the factors that could be related,” the study’s lead author, Floor Kroese, says.
In other words, the problem isn’t so much a symptom of insomnia as it is yet another form of procrastination. And while there’s evidence that your tendency to procastinate may be innate, there’s also tons of advice out there on how to stop.