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What is ‘bed rotting’ and is it actually self-care?

The latest big TikTok trend is as simple as chilling out in bed all day to solve your problems. By Imy Brighty-Potts.


With 3.2 million views of the TikTok tag ‘bed rotting’ and copious videos, it seems Gen Z are embracing a slower pace of life, with self-care happening in bed.

Creators are sharing their morning routines and experiences of bed rotting for self-care, but the trend has come under fire for its potential health implications.

Content creator Vanessa Hill describes it in her video as: “When you do literally nothing but laying in bed. It is the end of optimisation.”

According to psychologist and The Beekeeper House founder and CEO Robert Common, “Bed rotting is the practice of spending an extended amount of time during your normal waking hours, or even a whole day, lying in bed. You could be watching films, scrolling on social media, talking on the phone, eating, or anything you would normally do if you were at home relaxing.

“This differs from bed rest to recover from illness or injury, and is often used as a method of dealing with stress or anxiety, or as a self-care tool,” he explains.

This is a shunning of hustle culture and productivity in the pursuit of self-care.

“Although bed rotting might be the hottest self-care method trending on TikTok, the idea behind it isn’t new,” says Common.

“People have been taking ‘duvet days’ for a long time now, and many companies even have policies around this, allowing staff an entitlement to several duvet days per year.

“What we are seeing with this trend is more a case of social media driving conversations among young people. It could be especially appealing to Gen Zs, as many report feeling more stressed than other generations, so taking time away from it all to recuperate mentally could be especially appealing,” he explains.

But, is it actually self-care or is it doing more harm than good?

The benefits

Bed rotting may have some benefits (Alamy/PA)

There are some positive aspects to this grimly named practice.

“Taking some mental downtime to recharge has many benefits,” says Common.

“We live in a very fast-paced world, so stepping back, reconnecting with yourself, recharging your batteries and rebuilding some mental and physical energy is always a positive thing to do. In fact, it’s something that more of us should be scheduling into our routines if we can.

“Having this downtime puts us in a stronger position to reassess our goals and find the motivation to reach for them, manage our commitments and explore personal interests and hobbies without burning ourselves out,” he explains.

Damage to mental health and physical wellbeing

You can have too much of a good thing (Alamy/PA)

“Spending the odd day here and there throughout the month bed rotting is unlikely to do you any damage – quite the reverse. However, as with all things in life, balance is key,” explains Common.

For example, “If bed rotting becomes a dominating factor or behaviour in how you spend your free time, this could be an indicator of depression or burnout. If you suspect you’re experiencing these – or other underlying health issues – it’s important to seek appropriate support to help identify the root causes, and find healthy ways to manage them,” he says.

Other practices may be more beneficial.

“Whilst rest is important for wellbeing, exercise is also a powerful tool for maintaining good mental and physical health, so ultimately, it’s about not being on either extreme of the spectrum.”

Impact on sleep

Bed rotting can impact the amount and the quality of sleep you get, too.

“An important factor of good sleep hygiene is reserving your bed for sleeping only,” Common says.

“Watching Netflix, scrolling on your phone and eating are some of the most obvious activities that go hand-in-hand with bed rotting, but it can make it harder to follow a good sleep schedule.

“It’s also important to expend enough energy during the day to fall asleep on time, and maximise the benefits that come with proper sleep,” he says.

So, while a few duvet days here and there could be counted as self-care, bed rotting too often may leave you worn out and unhappy.


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