What is ‘bed rotting’ (and what are the pros and cons)?

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls,
updated on Jun 21, 2023

Woman lying in bed

Should we be rotting in bed to get the rest we need? Let’s unpick the new ‘bed rotting’ trend

When was the last time you spent a day in bed? I know for me it was last year when I had covid. I buried myself in my covers and watched TV between naps. This is probably true for many of us, illness is the one thing we'll submit to our sheets for.

It turns out, more and more people are retreating to their beds for other reasons. A new buzzword making the rounds on TikTok is ‘bed rotting’, where people spend as much time as they need ‘rotting’ in bed. For some it’s to relax and get the rest they need, for others, it’s a way of coping with a bad day.

Coming largely from younger people (Gen Z) it’s prompted the question of whether or not bed rotting is a good thing we should all be embracing.

Bed rotting: The pros

When looking at this trend, it’s important to step back, look at the context and understand what’s going on outside of the duvet. The world is feeling like an increasingly unsafe place. From climate change and pandemics to the polarised political landscape, it’s not so difficult to understand the desire to hide under the covers.

For Gen Z specifically, their future feels particularly fragile. Will they ever afford a house? Will they get the career they want or will AI be taking over? How will life look for them in 30, 40, 50 years?

So then, with everything going on, what are some of the benefits of bed rotting?

It can help you reject hustle culture

Bed rotting feels like the antithesis of several other TikTok trends, including people sharing their morning routines that start at 5am and the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic. Pushing back against unhealthy productivity and not resting when you need it, bed rotting is a way to take back control.

It’s a way of saying ‘no’ to hustle culture and recognising that you’re still worthy, even when you’re doing nothing.

It can help you to take what you need

Bed rotting can be about truly listening to yourself and taking what you need. Perhaps you’ve been on the brink of burnout and a weekend in bed is just what you need to pull yourself back. Perhaps you’re doing it to support your mental health, recognising that some days what you need more than anything is time to rest.

In this sense, bed rotting can be empowering, but it’s important to recognise the nuance here. There can be times when bed rotting feels empowering, but there can be times when it makes you feel worse.

woman lying in bed with eyes closed

Bed rotting: The cons

As we’ve mentioned, bed rotting can feel exactly what you need, but it can help to ask yourself why you’re doing it and if it is making you feel better in the long term. With this in mind, here are some cons to consider.

It can lead to self-criticism

Bed rotting may be a way for you to learn to rest without guilt, but watch out for any negative thought spirals that don’t go away. For some, spending time in bed leads to negative thoughts (like “I’m so lazy”) which starts a cycle of self-criticism, makes them feel bad and prompts them to spend more time in bed.

If you notice this cycle and it’s not getting better, it’s worth questioning what’s leading you to spend time in bed in the first place. It may be worth reaching out for support to help you identify if it’s truly what you need, build self-compassion and learn how to let go of the guilt you have associated with resting.

It can stop you from doing what you *actually* need

Bed rotting can be somewhat of a sticking plaster, covering up a problem that needs your attention to get better. For example, if you’re bed rotting regularly to cope with anxiety, this may feel good in the short term, but long term it could become an avoidance technique that makes your anxiety worse.

Again, what’s needed here is some radical honesty. Ask yourself what’s triggering the need to stay in bed and if it is really making you feel better, or if something else may be more beneficial.

Bed rotting: Should you embrace it?

There are certainly times and situations when bed rotting is a helpful and even empowering thing. There are also times when it’s stopping us from facing our problems and doing what we need in order to heal.

As well as some self-exploration of why you’re bed rotting and how it truly makes you feel in the long-term, it can help to have some other restorative practices to lean on. These might include going for walks, connecting with friends or even speaking to a professional.

As with many things in this life – it’s all about balance. Enjoying the comfort of our covers when we need it, but popping our heads out to check in with ourselves and the world around us from time to time too.

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