Keep in mind that the clinic door is open: this is the first in our new mental health-based column, “Mind Matters” by Men’s Health. I am Dr. Kieran Kennedy, a physician specializing in psychiatry (also known as brain + mental health), with a degree in psychology, physiology, and medicine.
In addition to being a new gym, I am passionate about pushing all things mental, so this is where we will address a new set of mental health representatives each week. Considering mental health as much as muscle is more important than ever, so I’m happy to join the MH team to help us do that. Let’s go.
Procrastination ft. Sleep
Closing the eye is incredibly important to all aspects of well-being, but when it comes to mental health it’s even more vital. Interestingly, sleep is one of the most common struggles modern men face, and evidence indicates that most of us don’t have enough of it. So when I first read about the theory of “sleep procrastination,” the not-so-subtle art of being unable to crawl into bed even though we know we should, I’ll admit that never m ‘had felt so seen.
So what is it?
While the revenge dream theory of revenge is still fairly new, it is one that has some scientific weight. Technically it is defined as delaying the bed and losing sleep even when:
- there is no legitimate reason not to touch the hay
- we are tired and we know we need it
- there is a strange feeling of not being able to do it to us.
If, like me, reading that it seems like someone has just summed up their entire adult life well, it turns out we’re not alone. Early surveys show that sleep delay is incredibly common and is an important factor in why we are less closed than ever.
So if you’re waking up late in the wormholes on Youtube or doing literally anything other than hitting at 10pm bedtime (I see you), we’re just postponing something else, from where does “revenge” come from? It turns out that psychologists now feel an important part of delaying bedtime, even when we know we shouldn’t be the way our minds can recover from some of our days. Studies show that procrastination at bedtime often goes hand in hand with the degree of penetration of the workday into our daily lives and how much (or not) we feel is ours. When we feel there is less time for us, procrastination can be introduced as a mental tactic that allows us to feel as if we have spent some idle time.
How to go back
So if procrastination isn’t something we only save for uncomfortable studies, bills, or emails, since you know you have to send your head, how do we respond when it comes to getting angry at night? And in turn, how do we get a bigger and better sleep point? Whether it’s to combat stress, depression, or to support overall well-being, even a little more sleep can make a big difference, so it’s important to boost it.
Here are some tips approved by the document to start postponing sleep:
- Prioritizing free time is as important as activation time. Try to schedule stopped, non-work activities throughout the week as you do your to-do list, so there is less need for a night shift
- Transition points help set mental boundaries for the day. Even when working from home, have a sign marking the end of the workday for the brain, such as a run, a shower, muted emails, or even just a change of clothes
- Sleep improves in quantity, but especially in quality, when we prepare it during the day. Try to keep caffeine (including pre-workout supplements) before lunch, keep alcohol-free days each week, respect routine sleep / wake time, and avoid screens 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Where we sleep is as important as when. In the hour or two before bedtime, try dimming the lights, cooling the house, reducing stimulation, and preparing the bed.
- The devices hijack the reward circuits and therefore work in favor of postponement. Intend to sync them at night with a personal schedule agreement, a number of social media clips, or an alarm to break this Netflix mess
- “Add 30”: Call it bedtime 30 minutes before turning off the actual lights to help block procrastination (better yet, add the tips above here).
See you next week for our next installment of Men’s Health’s Mind Health Matters program.