Revenge Bedtime Procrastination & Essential Oils


Revenge bedtime procrastination—the strange, sneaky, sleep-schedule-sabotaging phenomenon that has seemingly spiked all across the United States. 

What exactly is it? Revenge bedtime procrastination (RBP) is essentially when your unfulfilled emotional needs sabotage your sleep needs. 

Usually it occurs when a lack of unstructured, “me” time in your life and/or poor work/life boundaries cause you to unconsciously seek “revenge” in the late evening hours by staying up extra late, typically watching tv, scrolling through social media, or doing some other high-diverting but low-energy activity. 

Revenge bedtime procrastination is very common—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and especially among young adults in the digital, work-from-home era.

And it’s a big wellness problem!

Sufficient-length, high-quality sleep is absolutely critical for both short-term and long-term wellness (see the iTOVi Sleep Guide for full details). And RBP is a triple threat as it typically:

  1. Delays bedtime—reducing the amount of overall sleep that a person can get before their day starts in the morning. 
  2. Makes it harder to fall asleep—staying up late, especially staring at blue screens, can give you a headache or otherwise stress your body in such a way that makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep once you finally do get to bed. 
  3. Throws off your natural sleep-wake cycle—stressing your body out by disrupting your natural circadian rhythm and the regularity of your sleep habits, likely causing you to undersleep, oversleep, or nap irregularly throughout the day.

So, what’s an essential oil-user to do to protect themselves, their loved ones, and business clients from RBP? There is quite a bit you can do!

RBP finds its roots in the workings of your brain, in your daily habits, and in your daily emotional wellness. Fortunately, essential oils are great tools for influencing the brain, curating good habits, and supporting emotional wellness practices! And all of that can get more effective and personalized when you involve the iTOVi Scanner!

Step 1: Redraw and Set Boundaries Around Your Daily Schedule

Revenge bedtime procrastination is a clear sign that you are likely leading an imbalanced life.

You might be working too much and relaxing too little. You might be giving away too much time to others and never finding “me” time. You might be taking on too many stressors or extra responsibilities. 

Whatever the cause, your body and brain are trying to compensate for this imbalance through revenge bedtime procrastination. 

The sad thing is that, even though your body is looking for me-time, relaxation time, and/or unstructured fun time late at night—how much fun or enjoyment would you really say you are getting? Do you really feel emotionally recharged after hours of scrolling through Instagram, watching endless Youtube videos, or whatever else it is you do to procrastinate your bedtime? 

Probably not. 

But, this late at night, you don’t have the energy to do the really fulfilling things…so you get trapped in this toxic cycle of poor sleep, stress, and unfulfilling “me” time. 

Time to break the loop! 

Take a look at your schedule. Where have you overburdened yourself? Where do you need to pull back? Where can you schedule in some fun, relaxing, recharging, personal time? What can you do during that time that will really recharge and fulfill you? 

If you can’t afford to change your schedule or reduce your workload, identify little moments in the day when you can fit in at least a little self-care (5-min breaks, deep breathing exercises during your commute, half-an-hour of quiet time while your kids are napping, etc). 

Once you’ve scheduled your personal recharge time, defend it! Set clear boundaries with your co-workers, family members, and yourself to preserve this important time. You can also plan ahead any essential oils, essential oil blends, and/or relaxation activities you’d like to use to help you make the most of your personal recharge time. 

Pro tip: Regularly combining a particular essential oil or essential oil blend with a relaxation activity will train your brain and body to relax whenever you smell that scent!

How Can My iTOVi Scanner Help?
Got a chaotic life or a highly-flexible, constantly-changing schedule? Use regular iTOVi Scans to check in with yourself physically and emotionally so you know when to take a break. We particularly recommend taking a break if most of your top-response essential oil products belong to the Safe/Secure or Comfort/Console emotional categories. 
Use iTOVi & your essential oils to streamline transitions. Transitions are often easier if you have a fun activity or sensory cue to help you. Scanning yourself is fun! And essential oils can be a great sensory cue to help you switch activities/modes—from work to rest, rest to play, play to work, etc. 

Step 2: Personalize and Strictly Defend Your Bedtime Routine

The more enjoyable, personalized, and satisfying your bedtime routine is, the less likely you will be to procrastinate it. 

Decide when you want to be in bed—and not just in bed but actually trying to fall asleep—and curate a bedtime routine that will help you reach that goal. 

There’s a lot that can go into a high-quality, personalized bedtime routine (find a full breakdown of bedtime routines in the iTOVi Sleep Guide plus tips on how essential oils can help), but the #1 thing to include is to ALWAYS put away your phone at the beginning of your bedtime routine. Set your alarm, plug it in, go do your bedtime routine, and do not pick your phone up again until morning

Your bedtime routine deserves the best boundaries you can offer. 

Protect your bedtime routine as best you can from phone notifications, the allure of other procrastinating activities, and interruptions from other people. Treat your bedtime routine as sacred and your body will thank you for it your whole life long! 

Pro tip: Your nighttime routine will stick better if you have a solid morning routine to get you up and moving at the same time every day. 

Still Struggling? Discover & Confront the Emotional Source

Sometimes, no matter how well you plan—chaotic life factors and/or strong emotions interfere and bam, you’re back to scrolling until 1 am. Sometimes a good plan and good boundaries aren’t enough. Sometimes we can’t maintain a good plan or healthy boundaries until we’ve done some deeper self-work. 

To root out the emotional factors that are keeping your life chaotic and your evenings filled with revenge procrastination, you’re going to have to stop (either right now or right when you’re in the middle of the chaos or procrastination episode) and ask yourself the hard questions, such as: 

  • What am I afraid of that is enabling this behavior? 
  • What am I hiding from or trying to avoid when I do this? 
  • What unresolved pain or fear keeps me returning to this behavior? 
  • Where did it start?
  • How can I process this pain and fear so it no longer controls me? 
  • What or who can help me have the courage to confront my pain and fear? 
  • What is my body trying to tell me
  • Where do I feel tension, numbness, or pain? 
  • What situations or emotions do these physical sensations remind me of?

If you can’t fall asleep, it will likely be more helpful to spend the time confronting yourself and doing some soul-searching rather than reaching for your phone or another procrastination/dissociation tool. 

In seeking to process your emotions, you can use your oils and iTOVi Scans to get helpful ideas on where to start, to help you attune to your body, attune to your emotions, and de-escalate if you start to feel overwhelmed by the process. 

If you work at it, but start to feel like you’re hitting a wall or going in circles, you may benefit from talking them out with a trusted friend or a licensed professional.


Keeping our emotional needs and our sleep needs from sabotaging each other is a battle we all fight. So instead of feeling ashamed, it’s better to reach out to those who struggle with the same difficulties and support each other!

Find support, people to answer your questions, educational content, and more in communities such as: 

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