Thursday, July 29, 2021

Instant Gratification and Sleep Procrastination

     Instant gratification refers to the tendency of choosing less rewarding behaviors for immediate satisfaction over behaviors that produce a better future benefit (Ackerman, 2011). Instant gratification delays or prevents an individual from meeting their long term goals even when they are aware the future benefits outweigh the short-term benefits. The inability to resist instant gratification temptations derives from personal problems with self-control. For example, impulsiveness makes delaying gratification when tempted difficult. Another self-control issue that can make instant gratification harder to resist is anticipation. Humans prefer to anticipate positive things but not negative things; this makes choosing discomfort over instant satisfaction difficult (Ackerman, 2011). A consequence of engaging in instant gratification is procrastination. 

    With the rise of social media and cell phones, a phenomenon called "revenge sleep procrastination" is occurring due to the instant gratification of screen time. In 2014, the behavioral scientist Dr. Floor Kroese described bedtime procrastination as choosing to go to bed later than intended without a valid reason (Cohut, 2021). A study done in 2020 found that adults were choosing to watch videos, text, or scroll on social media instead of sleeping. One of the driving forces behind revenge sleep procrastination is having to resist one's desires to do enjoyable things during the day due to work or school and, as a result, engaging in those activities at night. Choosing the instant gratification of screen time over sleep prevents an individual from obtaining quality sleep which can negatively impact mood regulation, cardiovascular health, inflammation, productivity, and mental health (Cohut, 2021). 


  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I feel that I myself engage in revenge sleep procrastination due to my hectic schedule! I often regret staying up super late most nights but so far I can not seem to stop myself. I feel that I do this because the only time I get to do “nothing” is late at night when I am finally in my bed. Great job on this post, you really got me thinking!!

  2. Hi Amy, I really liked your post! I definitely engage in revenge bedtime procrastination as well. I often feel like a little kid who just wants to stay up late for a little more time. Days are often so hectic when I am working, taking classes, going to the gym, and trying to maintain a social life. I often find myself saying I'm going to bed early as I then lay there for multiple hours on my phone or Netflix. Great post!

  3. This was a great post and the sleep procrastination is definitely something that I can relate to. During the day, I feel so tired and all I want to do is go to sleep and I can not wait for night time. But then night time comes and the last thing that I want to do is go to sleep because there are so many other things that I want to do. This then leads to feeling tired again the next day and it just feels like a vicious cycle.