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Are You Rotting in Bed? And Is It Good for You?

written by Skye Sherman - Dec 4, 2023
medically reviewed by Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - Apr 17, 2024

Photo Credit: by Andrea Piacquadio,
Photo Credit: by Andrea Piacquadio,

TikTok, Instagram, and other forms of social media have brought us all kinds of trends over the years, from recipes to wellness practices to silly dances and beyond. While social media can bring with it a lot of potential pitfalls to our emotional, mental, and even physical health, there’s also a lot we can learn from scrolling on our phones.

Have you heard of the latest new online trend, bed rotting? While this sounds pretty gross, it might actually be good for you. Read on to learn more about what bed rotting is and how it might help make you happier.

What is bed rotting?

If bed rotting sounds like something horrible that you plan to avoid at all costs, think again. You might actually like it.

An article on the Health website explains, “A booming new trend sweeping TikTok involves staying in bed for extended periods—not to sleep, but to do passive activities like eating snacks, watching TV, and scrolling through devices.”

This is bed rotting. Basically, it means relaxing in bed while you do things other than sleep. And it’s a major trend. If you look up bed rotting on TikTok, you’ll see the concept has more than 130 million views.

According to Health, “This trend is most popular among Generation Z who may feel burnt out from work, school, family demands, or social engagements.”

While the term sounds kind of unappealing, bed rotting might not be so bad for you.

The benefits of bed rotting

For most people, bed rotting is just a way to recharge one’s batteries. If you bed rot in moderation, you may experience a calmer body, less stress and exhaustion, and a sense of refreshment. This is especially true if you typically work long hours in a role that is demanding either physically or mentally or both.

If you’re feeling totally burned out, overworked, or overtired, laying around and not feeling guilty about it on your days off might be just what the doctor ordered.

Of course, while bed rotting could be exactly what you need, doing it too much or for too long might do more harm than good. Before you jump both feet into bed rotting for the foreseeable future, make sure you’re aware of the dangers of bed rotting.

The dangers of bed rotting

If you want to get the benefits of bed rotting, just don’t make it a habit. Health reports, “While bed rotting can benefit some people in the short-term, it can become concerning if it lasts for more than one or two days.”

The article also states, “In addition to the length of a bed rotting session, what you do in bed also impacts your well-being … The practice can be problematic if you spend the bulk of your bed time on your devices.”

On the other hand, if you opt to spend your bed rotting session reading, journaling, gentle yoga, or even talking on the phone with loved ones, this would be more beneficial than scrolling through social media or binging a TV show.

However, according to Healthline, “Many people who participate in bed rotting often refer to it as a form of self-care, but health experts say it’s not a healthy practice … [it can] include mental and physical health risks like:

Depression and anxiety: Social isolation and reduced exposure to natural light can contribute to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Sleep disorders: Spending too much time in bed can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Muscle weakness: Lack of physical activity can lead to muscle atrophy and weakness, making it more challenging to perform daily tasks.

Blood circulation issues: Staying in bed for extended periods can hinder blood circulation, leading to swelling and an increased risk of blood clots.”

Diabetes and Obesity: Staying sedentary in bed for longer than 8 hours (excluding sleeping hours) has been shown to increase chances of developing diabetes and even weight gain.

Too much bed rotting can make life more stressful, so keep that in mind the next time you avoid facing the day in favor of staying in bed and doing a whole lot of nothing.

In addition, keep in mind that those who have trouble sleeping should avoid bed rotting. (Don’t worry, couch rotting can be just as relaxing!) Using your bed as a place reserved solely for sleep and intimacy can train your brain to associate your bed only with sleep, which can be less disruptive to your sleep patterns and make sure you don’t develop trouble falling asleep at night.

Can bed rotting cause depression?

If bed rotting becomes the norm, or you make it a habit, it could actually be a sign of depression.

Healthline states, “Bed-ridden self-care can often be observed as a manifestation of not only depression but a severe depressive episode. Experts agree that, over time, bed rotting can have a rebound effect of creating a cycle of harmful habits.”

Patterns of regular bed rotting may mean you’re spending too long in bed, which obviously limits the time you have available for more enriching activities, like spending time with friends and family, exercising, pursuing a hobby, or working toward a goal.

Of course, if bed rotting gets in the way of these vital elements of a healthy life, or if you miss school or work due to bed rotting, these are warning signs that it’s doing more harm than good and you may be suffering from a mental health condition like depression.

Speak to a health professional if you are concerned that your mental health is suffering, because a doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication such as Wellbutrin XL, or Lexapro (also called Cipralex in Canada). It’s essential to only take such medications under the care of a qualified physician.

Other signs of depression that can sometimes go hand in hand with bed rotting include low energy, a down mood, and a lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy. In all these cases, it’s best to consult with a doctor to find the right course of action for you.

Other ways to nourish your mental health

There are other ways to get out of a rut if you find yourself feeling burned out and unmotivated. Instead of rotting in bed, consider a few healthy alternatives first:

● Get plenty of quality sleep at night

● Daily exercise. If you plan on spending several hours in your bed for the day, try to at least go for a 20-30 minute walk at some point to give your muscles some movement and increase in blood supply.

● Healthy nutrition and a clean diet

● Strive for 20 minutes of mindfulness a day (meditation, journaling, yoga)

While there’s no shame in resting when life calls for it, just make sure that you also balance it out with a slate of other activities that are truly good for you. And set a time limit for your bed rotting session so it doesn’t become a problem.

As CBS puts it, “It’s okay to slow down for a day once in a while if you're really exhausted, but if bed rotting becomes a barrier to living a full life or taking care of daily responsibilities – it might be a sign to seek help. … pay attention to whether bed rotting is worsening sleep, depression, or lack of motivation.”

Find nourishing ways to relax that don’t take away from your life.



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