To-do lists? Reminders and alerts? Filling in planners with excruciating detail?

No doubt, you may have tried everything by now to cure procrastination.

If it's easy for you to put off assignments and priority items until the last minute, it's likely that you find yourself stressed and exhausted more often than not. But there is one thing we can do to avoid procrastination, according to one new study.

Recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, new research indicates that there is an important connection between the quality of our sleep and how much we procrastinate.

Researchers looked at a diverse set of adults who work in a number of different industries like finance, education, healthcare, construction and sales.

Participants recorded, for 10 consecutive workdays, their sleep quality and their tendency to procrastinate in the workplace. Findings show that low sleep quality is linked to increased procrastination levels the next day. This effect is moderated by a person's self-control--someone who is low in self-control already will be significantly affected by sleep quality, where as someone with a large amount self-control will not be so affected.

There was a significant difference in procrastination levels between individuals with high self-control and those with low self-control when both groups of participants had a low-quality night's sleep. The difference between the groups was significantly smaller when both groups had high a quality sleep.

Ultimately, this means that you are more likely to procrastinate not because you have a personality trait that makes you more prone to procrastination, but because you have a trait that makes you more susceptible to external influences (like low-quality sleep) that will cause you to procrastinate.

Translation? Ensure that you sleep well if you would like to reduce the likelihood of next-day procrastination. You will see a marked difference with better sleep if you already struggle with self-control and procrastination already.

To get better quality sleep, consider going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday. Take up daily exercise, or leave your phone and other screens outside of the bedroom.

No one is fully immune to the temptation of procrastination. When you're a busy person, you will quickly fall behind if you are not careful.

If you're having trouble with procrastination and need a solution, just remember: you can always sleep on it.

Published on: May 1, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.