How to Kill Your Stubborn Sleep Procrastination Depression

By Luis Thiam-Nye on 11 February 2019
Do you get carried away and lose all sense of time at night? Ask yourself these questions 45 minutes before bedtime to stop sleep procrastination depression taking over your life and ending your productivity. No more late nights!

What is Sleep Procrastination Depression?

With all of these menacing technological devices taking over our lives, getting to sleep early is beyond just “difficult”. Accordingly, the rise of sleep procrastination depression is becoming an increasingly severe problem for us all.

Ignoring the time promotes sleep procrastination depression

While computer technology can be fundamental for your productivity, I couldn’t rely on it always: somehow, the Internet will try to throw my ideals out the window; that will subsequently commence the negative spiral of sleep procrastination.

In fact, it is entirely possible that you are a victim of this practice—sleep procrastination—without realising.

Sleep procrastination is, to clarify:

The practice of delaying the process of going to bed thus resulting in later-than-ideal bedtimes. Consequently, this will likely lead to sleep deprivation and/or inadequate quality of sleep.

Evidently, nobody aims to procrastinate on their sleep, hence the depression part.

When you give in to sleep procrastination occurs just once, you will find trouble due to the associated negative spiral; one late night induces a negative multiplier effect creating increasingly worse situations for yourself.

To demonstrate, here is how this negative spiral of sleep procrastination depression might look like:

Use your willpower effectively: 9 Self-Control and Discipline Strategies: Break Free Now!

The Stubborn, Depressing Cycle of Sleep Procrastinators

Firstly, you procrastinate on going to bed—an abnormally late night.

Secondly, if you wake up at a set time, you will certainly be sleep deprived:

  • You will, therefore, take on a reduced capacity to make wise, long-term decisions (less willpower).
  • Similarly, your work output would be reduced.
  • You are more likely to give in to distractions, hence sleep procrastination.

On the other hand, if you don’t stick to an alarm and wake up later, you might feel all right…

  • Although, your quality of sleep is definitely going to take a leisurely retreat.
  • Also, you’ve foolishly shuffled your circadian rhythm forwards.
  • So, when it comes to your bedtime, you will not be considerably tired.
  • Likewise, I wouldn’t expect you to have much luck pulling yourself away from work.
  • This results in sleep procrastination.

Thirdly, this cycle of sleep procrastination promotes depression, since you fail to get to bed early. In addition, your struggles to be productive become apparent amidst your deathly drowsiness.

Finally, the process repeats, meanwhile, your bedtime gradually drifts later and later into the evening.

The sleep procrastination depression cycle starts with a late bedtime causing tiredness and a lack of productivity

The Benefits of an Early Bedtime and Lots of Sleep

Perhaps posing as the primary reason for its distastefulness, sleep procrastination causes sleep deprivation. As well as this, an inconsistent sleep schedule can be surprisingly harmful to your health, happiness, and—ultimately—productivity.

For a little more on the benefits of sleep, I advise that you first take a peek at this helpful guide.

Read about more sleepy tips: How to Sleep Easily for More Happiness and Better Focus

In short, here are a few noteworthy advantages of ensuring your nightly dosage of sleep:

  • Your daily productivity and work output will increase dramatically (by doing much more in a shorter space of time)
  • You will have the ability to get the really important but potentially intimidating tasks done
  • Happiness, joy, and an absence of depression will rain down upon you
  • Self-control and willpower will be abundantly available for your wise use
  • At last, the ability to think straight!
  • Your mind will be clear and concise for maximum focus and concentration.

The book Night School is also a fantastic source of your sleepy information.

Change your life and read Night School: The Life-Changing Science of Sleep

So What Causes Sleep Procrastination Depression—Even When You’re Sleep Deprived?

If the benefits of going to bed on time are so tempting and pronounced, why procrastinate on sleep? Surely, once you learn about the importance of sleep, one can become free to escape the sleep procrastination depression cycle, no?


Despite the apparent upsides to sufficient sleep, people constantly procrastinate on their bedtime. From time to time, this is me (hence this article). Why is this?

My Three Probable Yet Inexhaustive List of Theories for Sleep Procrastination

Even though I am no psychologist, I have a few theories:

A programmer working at a laptop workstation in the dark
But mother—I must fully replicate the entirety of the Microsoft Office suite before tomorrow!

Firstly, I sometimes feel that it is critical to complete certain tasks. This may be because they have been planned for but delayed. Equally, this could be caused by an unproductive day making you want to “compensate” by still completing some work.

However, the truth is that—most of the time—tasks can be delayed for the next day, or thereafter. After all, if productivity is your aim, many of your obligations are self-imposed.

What happens is that your desire to use time wisely in that moment overwhelms the long-term productivity benefits of sleep.

Secondly, you might fall for self-sabotage; for instance, in the past I have found myself escaping reality, deliberately avoiding looking at the time.

This often occurs when you’re sleep deprived, depressed, and in an unproductive rut. As you continue to be sucked into the world of novelty (e.g. the demon of social media), you become detached from your values.

Thirdly, poor planning, especially vague plans, can be detrimental to your productivity as well as a cause of sleep procrastination. To exemplify, if your plan is overoptimistic, missing deadlines is going to be inevitable.

Don’t let planning hurt you: How to Save Your Time: The Most Powerful Planning Routine

You Must Force Yourself to Face the Facts

In order to escape the inevitability of a scenario like the three above, you must employ one simple technique: brainwashing.

For you see, this is what I believe is at the root of the sleep procrastination depression problem:

You are not constantly reminded of your purpose, nor the reason for not procrastinating on your sleep.

This ties in somewhat with the concept I support dearly, which is to control your input sources for maximum effect.

For instance, you may selectively socialise and kill social media. But it is seldom practised when we want to stop sleep procrastination.

So, when the time comes (every night), you must brainwash yourself to get into that taunting bed! In other words, make yourself conscious of the time and the need to get to sleep.

When I miss my bedtime, it is almost invariably due to me getting carried away with my current task; I simply do not want to sign out just yet…

Therefore, the key is to pull yourself away from these needless tasks, thus granting you the freedom to sleep. Conversely, failing to do so leaves you stuck in the world of mental stimulation. You need to detach then wind down for the night.

Isolated person in a corner, alone
Disconnect from the unimportant.

My Recent Strategy to Break Sleep Procrastination Depression

I will describe one method for raising awareness of the frivolousness of your task in this section. Whether you decide to use it in its entirety, as mere inspiration for your own system, or not at all is up to you.

Recommended read: How to Stop Wasting Time Online: My Proven 5 Step Strategy

To make this technique as effective as possible, I have tried to make it super easy to integrate into your life. Accordingly, the only true obligation that I set upon you is this:

Every day, at a certain, planned time before your bedtime, get out a sheet of paper such that it is in your field of view.

This is the minimum requirement and, evidently, not a difficult habit to establish. Although, there is more to the tactic than that.

Demanding a bit of upfront effort, you should first obtain a fresh piece of paper. Then, the second step is to write down the following questions, or their more suitable variants.

Most importantly, you must use a pen, since handwriting equals commitment hence effectiveness.

From a Dedicated Sheet of Paper, Ask Yourself These Questions

Inscribed on my pink sheet, here are my questions:

I fight sleep procrastination with a pink sheet of hand-written questions
  1. Is this really necessary right now?
  2. What are the consequences (if any) of delaying this task until tomorrow, a week later, or five weeks later? That is to say, what is the worst that could happen by delaying?
  3. If I hadn’t started, would I still feel the urge to finish this task?
  4. How does this task help me achieve my goals—in other words—what are the benefits? Does it with my values and purpose?
  5. What are the consequences of continuing and lacking proper wind-down and sleep time? Is the sleep deprivation worth it?
  6. How will I feel tomorrow after making each decision (early vs late bedtime), and will I regret my decision?
  7. What is the rational choice to make leading to maximum results and minimal regret?

Ideally, at your dedicated time of day, you would proceed to analyse all that you are currently doing. Asking one question at a time, you will begin to realise that you can simply stop and sleep.

As long as you can commit to this, sleep procrastination depression should become less of a problem.

Succeed everywhere: My 3 Miracle Secrets to Absorb Knowledge [Super Quickly!]

Why This New Habit Should Not Be Hard

Not always is this process frictionless, though. After all, you will begin to associate asking these questions with stopping work. And that’s what you subconsciously want to avoid—hence you fail to get the sheet.

For this reason, you must make it clear how easy and effortless your obligation is:

Just put the questions in your field of view, for Musk’s sake!

It’s genuinely not that hard. So, why is it effective?

It’s because you know the meaning of the sheet, hopefully causing you to involuntary ask these questions, especially: is this really necessary right now? That’s a powerful question, undeniably.

In addition, the mere act of using the sheet regularly builds a habit. Subsequently, that habit could translate into a habit of going to bed early—amazing!

To exemplify this strategy, I’ve established 19:45 as my “cut-off point”, when I reach for my pink sheet of questions. Afterwards, I enumerate all tasks (including the windows on my computer), realising that none of them is necessary. At that point, I am free to do my daily plan and review prior to reading and, finally, sleep.

Sleep deprivation is detrimental

Conclusion: Can Sleep Procrastination Depression be Fixed?

Sleep procrastination depression is a difficult obstacle to deal with. So, not surprisingly, it’s not uncommon in many people’s productive journey, including mine.

Moreover, the negative spiral of backwards-progress and sadness it brings makes it increasingly difficult to break out of the cycle; it destroys our sleep, hence productivity, hence happiness.

Of course, an early bedtime is obviously the way to go.

But in order to achieve that, we must make a small, effortless yet powerful commitment. What’s more, it only entails a single sheet of paper.

As a result, you have no reason not to employ this strategy, even if it doesn’t work.

Progress is Invariably Slow and Gradual, But Present

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to sleep procrastination, I can guarantee that installing this new habit will make you aware of reality. Consequently, it can only make it more likely that you disconnect, and sleep earlier than you would have otherwise—a guilt mechanism, almost.

Yes, you can consistently get to bed early—but it’s not going to happen overnight!

If this technique works for the first few nights but your bedtime drifts later into the night afterwards, don’t get disheartened: keep on fighting. All it takes is one successful night to set you into a positive spiral of progress and joy!

Also, another technique I found substantially revolutionary is my sleep tracking smartwatch. Unlike any old smartwatch, it has special features helping me get the best night’s sleep—consistently.

Take sleep seriously: Why This Sleep Tracking Smartwatch Will Enlighten You (Fitbit Versa Review)

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About the author

My name is Luis Thiam-Nye and I own this place.