How to Deal with Doomscrolling and Other Bedtime Procrastination: A Guide for Young Adults
Doomscrolling. It’s that thing that happens when you’re trying to go to bed, but find yourself scrolling through social media or watching TV instead. You know you shouldn’t be doing it, but it’s just so tempting! Before you know it, an hour or two has gone by and you’re still awake. Does this sound familiar? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many young adults struggle with bedtime procrastination. In this article, we’ll explain why people doomscroll and engage in other forms of bedtime procrastination, and offer our advice on overcoming it.
What is Bedtime Procrastination?
Bedtime procrastination, also known as revenge bedtime procrastination, is when you stay up later than you intended to due to stress or anxiety. Oftentimes, people do this when they have a packed schedule and don’t have time for their own activities during the day. So instead, you decide to give up a few hours of (needed) sleep in order to catch up on TV, social media, or the news. Revenge bedtime procrastination can be caused by a wide range of things, such as work or school stress, anxiety, or excessive social media use. Doomscrolling is a specific form of bedtime procrastination where people mindlessly scroll through social media, typically out of boredom, a need to procrastinate, or even just to distract themselves from the other stressors in their life.
Why Do People Doomscroll?
Just like bedtime procrastination, there are a variety of reasons why people doomscroll. People who spend a lot of time on social media may simply do it out of habit, without even realizing they’re doing it. However, many people doomscroll as a way to avoid the stress and anxiety going on in their life. For example, as a college student, you might find yourself doomscrolling late at night when you’re stressed about a big test coming up or a presentation that you’re nervous about. Others might doomscroll to feel like they have some control over what’s going on in the world. There is A LOT happening around us: a pandemic, important social justice movements happening within the US, and now the Ukrainian War. Doomscrolling through the news might make you feel like you have some control over these things, but often it just feeds into your anxiety and stress.
How to Stop Bedtime Procrastination and Doomscrolling
If you find yourself doomscrolling or mindlessly watching TV as a form of bedtime procrastinating, there are a few things you can do to stop.
Acknowledge that you’re procrastinating
- If you catch yourself doomscrolling, take a step back and realize what you’re doing. Simply acknowledging that you’re doomscrolling is the first step to taking control and stopping.
Set healthy boundaries and limits on your screen time
- Whether it’s setting a specific amount of time you can be online each day or limiting where you can use your phone (for example, not in bed), setting limits can help you realize how much time you’ve spent online and cut down on doomscrolling. Many phones and apps allow you to set screen time limits that will alert you once you’ve spent an hour or more using a particular app.
Identify your procrastination triggers
- Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re doomscrolling, try to identify what’s causing you to do it. Is it boredom, stress, or anxiety? Once you know what’s causing you to doomscroll or watch hours of TV at night, you can begin to address those issues.
Find other things to do with your time
- This may seem obvious, but it’s important to try and find other things that you enjoy doing so you don’t have to turn to social media or TV. This might be drawing, reading your favorite mystery novel, or even just talking to a friend. By finding other things to do, you can avoid doomscrolling when you’re bored.
Talk to someone, perhaps even a therapist
- If you find that your bedtime procrastination is caused by stress or anxiety, talking to someone can be really helpful. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist. Talking to someone can help you identify the issues that are causing your bedtime procrastination, and hold you accountable to stop.
Doomscrolling and bedtime procrastination can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Getting enough sleep is crucial to your health. So, we encourage you to try following some of the tips above to stop your bedtime procrastination. If you’re still struggling, talking to a therapist or counselor is a great way to overcome the stress and anxiety causing your concerns. They can help you address the underlying issues that are causing your bedtime procrastination, and give you more tools to gain control over it.
Begin Counselling for Anxiety to Overcome Your Bedtime Procrastination
If you notice that this is an issue for you, counselling for anxiety can help. Most likely, the reason behind these unconscious behaviors are those anxious feelings. Get started working on uncovering these by beginning therapy for anxiety.
- Contact ChangeWorks
- Meet with a caring anxiety therapist
- Begin therapy for anxiety and find joy in your life!
Other Services Provided at ChangeWorks
Counselling for anxiety isn’t the only service offered at ChangeWorks. I also provide both individual and group therapy services. I offer CBT, CBT for insomnia, therapy for college students, and online therapy for expats. In addition, I also offer life transition therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and therapy for women’s issues. Feel free to learn more about online therapy in the UK, or visit my FAQ for more helpful info!