Bedtime revenge isn't as edgy as it sounds. It's when you arrive at the end of a long day of responsibilities — the kids in bed, the dishes done, the laundry folded, whatever — and you see that it's your bedtime, and you say, “You know what!? Forget you, bed. I'm done doing what life tells me to do for a bit. I'm taking some ME TIME!” And so you stay up for three hours binge-watching old Ted Lasso episodes or winsome engineers on YouTube or that King Arthur movie on Netflix that you know looks super bad but, still, it's got Jude Law in it, and he's generally pretty great.
(None of this has ever happened in my life, of course — these are just examples from, um, people I know.)
That's bedtime revenge — or as more sophisticated folks call it, “revenge bedtime procrastination.”  It's us taking revenge on a day where we didn't experience much autonomy by stealing some free time from the stubbornly large number of hours that our bodies supposedly need to sleep.
But here's the problem (spoiler alert): bedtime revenge wins in the end. Because while we temporarily get that sweet moment of blissful sovereignty, it comes at the cost of waking up tomorrow with greater physical pressurization, which in turns diminishes our odds of experiencing autonomy in our normal waking hours.
So let's talk about sleep, and let's have me try to not sound like a scold while doing it.
Stuff to know about sleep
- You need 7 or more hours per night unless you're special. (I am not special in that way.)
- It helps to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, regardless of if it's a weekend. Your body gets better quality sleep this way.
- It helps to have the room a little cool if possible.
- It helps to have your room as dark as possible (we have makeshift darkening shades over our windows).
- It helps to avoid meals or alcohol right before bed.
- It helps to exercise during the daytime.
- If you can't sleep, it's totally worth keeping a sleep diary for 10 days (like this one) and then going to see a doctor because…
- …getting adequate sleep can help with all kinds of things!
- Think of sleep as depressurization — not as a chore.
- Think of sleep as a way of practicing the reality that you are a finite creature.
For the early years of this blog, I'd write at night after the kids were in bed. I was one of those “I'll sleep when I'm dead” macho guys.
That was dumb.
Things started to change for me when I read a book about sleep and realized I was being a fool. So I started trying to get 7-8 hours per night, and it took me months before I started feeling the difference. (I had sleep debt.)
Now sometimes I feel like a wimp because when I get 4 or 5 hours, it'll really bug me. But then I just tell myself, “Buddy, that's because you're a finite creature!”
How to try sleeping at school
(I feel like this one needs a disclaimer.)
Pick a prep, any prep. Turn off the lights. Go into the corner. Get as comfy as you can. And set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Then try one of these.
Power Nap 1.0 — try to sleep for 15-20 minutes.
I used to dislike power naps because I felt so much pressure to fall asleep in the 15-20 minutes that I'd give myself for the nap. The pressure greatly reduced the restorative effects of the 15-20 minutes, and it often left me awake the whole time.
But if you've got narcolepsy or are super sleep-deprived, this one might work for you. Give it a shot. And if your boss walks in on you snoozing during your prep, just Google “power naps at work” and send her fifty articles like this one proving that you're being responsible.
Power Nap 2.0 — just close your eyes for 15-20 minutes and care not whether ye lose consciousness.
Power napping became awesome to me when one day I was bemoaning my dislike of the pressurey nature of the habit to a friend, and the friend said: “Dude. You don't have to fall asleep during a power nap. Just get comfortable and close your eyes for 15-20 minutes.”
I wasn't sure if this was legit advice or not, so I Googled it. And, sure enough, I found articles on websites like AmeriSleep saying, “Yeah, it's still good even if you don't fall asleep.”
Power Nap 3.0 — the Nappucino.
It's the same thing above, except before you begin the 15-20 minute nap, you down a shot of espresso or a cup of coffee. Dan Pink writes about this in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.
[Want better naps?] Down a cup of coffee. Seriously. The most efficient nap is the nappucino. The caffeine won't fully engage in your bloodstream for about twenty-five minutes, so drink up right before you lie down. If you're not a coffee drinker, search online for an alternative drink that provides about two hundred milligrams of caffeine. (If you avoid caffeine, skip this step. Also reconsider your life choices.)p. 76 of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
How to do it at home
Do a sleep hygiene audit
Does the place that you sleep:
- Get completely dark? Is there any way you could make it a bit darker?
- Have screens in it? Consider removing them for a week and observing whether or not your sleep is better in quality.
- Have noise in it? If so, consider trying some earplugs if your life circumstances permit it.
Work with your partner to see about getting you some nap time on the weekends
C'mon. You deserve it.
Read a physical book in bed at bedtime.
Even as a kid, I often had to read a book in order to fall asleep. To make this less annoying to your spouse or partner, get them a sleep mask. And make sure your nightside light isn't harsh.
Now go have some fun sleeping
That's that. And you know what? It tired me out. So I'm going to go take a nap.  
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- Mandarin even has a word for this — 報復性熬夜.
- Got so much work that you don't have time for this practice? Try the following posts on making workload behave:
- A Shift then a Skip: Here's How One Teacher's Job Changed with a Simple Change in Thinking
- How to Get Better at Satisficing as an Educator
- The Best Question for Helping You Simplify Lessons, Curricula, Policies, or Procedures
- A Few Helpful Ideas for Resting as an Educator
- Let's Pick Some Sled Dogs
- We're Too Hospitable to Pointlessness
- To Decide is to Cut
- I'm currently working on a spring 2022 PD experience that's going to help with one of the biggest stressors for secondary teachers in the world today: student motivation. Want first dibs? Sign up here + get my new student motivation checklist.