Sure you plan to turn in at a decent hour most nights, but then bedtime rolls around, and you're too caught up scrolling through your Twitter feed or watching a Game of Thrones binge-athon to turn out the lights...and no surprise, you're totally dragging the next day. If your nightly ritual resembles this scenario, lay the blame on a type of behavior called sleep procrastination. The term was recently coined by Dutch researchers and means "failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so." In other words, it's not job or life demands keeping you from scoring sleep time, it's youÃ¢â‚¬”and the fact that you can't tear yourself away from more appealing distractions.
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Sleep procrastination is an increasingly common phenomenon in our 24-7 digital world, according to a study the researchers published in Frontiers in Psychology. For the study, the research team asked 177 people to describe their bedtime habits. Half the study participants reported difficulty resisting the lure of TV, social media, and other sources and experienced sleep procrastinationÃ¢â‚¬”plus side effects like fatigue and mental fogginess the next dayÃ¢â‚¬”at least two nights per week. The biggest sleep procrastinators were people who generally have trouble sticking to plans and not giving in to temptations, according to the research.
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Study authors suggest that more research be done on sleep procrastination so strategies can be devised to help people dodge distractions. In the meantime, if you're bleary-eyed from regularly pushing back your bedtime, consider putting a curfew on social media, Netflix, and other tempting technologies so you won't be lured into them when you should be catching z's. If your cell phone has a "Do Not Disturb" function, turn it on an hour before you want to fall asleep. And finally, reframe bedtime so it's a reward for working hard all dayÃ¢â‚¬”not something to blow off because there's a Friends marathon on (spoiler alert: It's on every night, and you've seen them all.) For more simple ways to sleep better, try these tactics.
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