BBC: Many young Chinese workers prioritize leisure time over sleep after long work days—even though they know it’s unhealthy. What’s driving this behavior?

“People are stuck in a Catch-22 when they don’t have time to detach from their work before they go to sleep, it is likely to negatively affect their sleep,” says Kelly. The real solution, she suggests, is to ensure that individuals are allowed time to engage in activities that provide this detachment. However, this is often not something employees can achieve by themselves. 

Heejung Chung, a labour sociologist at the University of Kent and an advocate for greater workplace flexibility, sees the practice of delaying sleep as the fault of employers. Tackling the problem would benefit workers but also help ensure a “healthy, efficient workplace”, she points out. “It’s actually a productivity measure,” she says. “You need that time to unwind. Workers need something to do other than work. It’s risky behaviour to do only one thing.”