Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? Aliza Shapiro, LCSW Explains


In our latest episode of our Whose Kid is That?!? podcast, Julie and Val are joined by Aliza Shapiro, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Therapy in the City. They chat about what revenge bedtime procrastination is, why we do it, and how we can break the habit!

Aliza is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and utilizes social media to normalize conversations around mental health, break stigmas around therapy, and build a sense of community for those who strive to learn and grow. In her clinical work, Aliza helps adolescents, young adults, and adults overcome a wide array of mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, OCD, and related disorders.

Moms… this post is for you. You might not know the term “revenge bedtime procrastination” but I guarantee that you know what I’m talking about. We’re moms too, and we share that giddy feeling of having our kids in bed and a tiny chunk of free time when you can watch trash TV that you pick while eating junky snacks that you don’t have to share. That glorious nugget of time when your needs come first and you can relax. What’s the harm in putting off bedtime just a little to relax and veg out? You certainly deserve it. Believe me. WE KNOW. But the reality is, our late-night party for one habit is cutting into valuable sleep time. So, what’s a parent to do?!?

Check out a sneak peek at our conversation with Aliza

JULIE: We reached out to you, Aliza, because you were quoted in an article we read about revenge bedtime procrastination, and we have talked about this during multiple episodes because it’s something that we both do. Val’s a lot worse than I am. She’s up until like one in the morning knowing she’s got to get up with the kids at like six. So we’ve been saying for months that we need to get an expert on the podcast to talk to us about what it is, why we’re doing it, all the things.

So, would you mind starting with explain to us what revenge bedtime procrastination is?

ALIZA: Sure, absolutely. First of all, if you struggle with it, you’re in very good company. I think a lot of people that struggle with revenge bedtime procrastination are very productive people.

The way that it works is that our bodies need a certain amount of rest throughout the day and in the evenings and at night. That’s not just physical rest. It’s also mental and emotional rest. And if we don’t get it throughout the day, we’ll create ways to get it in pockets at other times, aka 11 o’clock at night, so that we can recalibrate. But oftentimes when we’re trying to get that recalibration- the mental and emotional rest, we don’t realize that we’re doing it in ways that are actually a little bit counterproductive because they are getting in the way of our physical sleep, etc.

Revenge bedtime procrastination is when you know you should be going to sleep. But there’s something in your brain that says, I just want to relax a little bit longer. I know it’s gonna make me tired in the morning, but I don’t care. There’s a voice inside of you that’s bigger that’s saying, I need this relaxation right now. And you listen to that voice over the voice that’s saying, hey, go to bed because you have to wake up at 530. So that’s really what the phenomenon is all about.

VAL: That’s so me. I feel that every night. I lay down and I just need to check out. I get the kids to bed. My husband goes to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. So, then it is my time. This is the only time I know I will get to relax.

And I know it’s foolish because I should just wake up earlier. I would be well rested if I went to sleep when my husband does. I would still have that me time too, but it would be at a normal hour when I could actually be productive and get things done. But that’s what I want to do.

I want to lay there. I want to watch TV and not think about anything and just mindlessly scroll through Instagram.

ALIZA: Yeah. And I think therein lies the problem. Like you just said, if I would do it in the morning, it would be a time when I could be productive and get things done. Your brain doesn’t want to get things done when you’re relaxing. So you’re creating a time where there’s nothing that’s left to be done in the day. There’s no little nagging voice that’s saying wash the dishes, pack the kids’ lunches. They’re already made. I made sure everything is done so I don’t have to do so much in the morning. And then your checklist is done, and you’re like I’m zoning out. All the essentials are taken care of, the children are asleep, and now my brain is just off.

VAL: Yes, absolutely. And I struggle. Julie said 1 AM, but last night it was more like 2 AM. It’s so bad. And I’m starting to see it take an effect on me physically. I am not a morning person, I never have been. But I feel like I’m weighed down in the morning, my body doesn’t want to move, my brain doesn’t want to move, and I’m finding myself getting short with the kids because we’re rushing. But, of course, we’re rushing, I’m exhausted.

So, I’m ready for you to fix me tonight.

ALIZA: Done!

Other topics covered in the convo:

For more from Aliza, check her out on Instagram @therapist_in_nyc. She can be reached at [email protected] or on her website at

To hear the full interview with Aliza about Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, check out the latest episode of Whose Kid is That?!? with Julie and Val. You can listen on Apple or Spotify. Don’t forget to subscribe so you know exactly when each new episode is released!

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Julie McNulty
Julie and her husband, Mike, were both born and raised in Southern New Jersey, but recently relocated to Vermont. Though new to the Green Mountain State, it already feels like home and they love the swimming, hiking, and skiing. Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Theology. She spent the past ten years working with kids and teens but, these days, she's a part-time work from home/full-time homeschooling mom to her crazy boys, Luke- 7 and Liam- 6. Julie enjoys reading big books, writing witty blog posts, cooking new recipes, indulging in celebrity gossip, watching trashy reality TV, and doing anything outdoors with her kids and husband. You can follow her adventures on Instagram, @ur_basic_mom instead, and you can check out her content strategy and marketing business, Writes Well with Others.


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