The latest sleep trend to go viral on TikTok is ‘bed rotting’. Leading the charge on this trend is Gen Z who claim that the gross-sounding bed rotting trend is an act of self-care… but I’m not entirely convinced.
TikTok sleep trends have become insanely popular over the years, from the military sleep method to the rapid tapping technique. Whether it’s finding out how to get a better night’s rest or glamourising your evening routine, TikTok has become the go-to place for sleep and self-care advice… and now we have bed rotting.
Bed rotting doesn’t exactly sound enjoyable, with its terminology conjuring up images of people lying on a mouldy bed surrounded by filth. Instead, this new self-care trend is all about lying in bed all day. Yes, that’s it. While TikTok-ers are raving about bed rotting, many sleep experts and medical professionals have completely conflicting ideas behind it. Some love bed rotting and say that it’s “the end of optimisation and anti-productivity", whereas others say it can lead to bigger problems down the line.
So, what is bed rotting? Is it a good way to utilise your time in bed? And how much rest is too much rest? I spoke to sleep experts and medics to see if the bed rotting trend is something we should be indulging in… and here’s why I’m not convinced.
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What is bed rotting?
Bed rotting is a term that refers to spending most or all of your day in bed. This ‘rotting’ isn’t during the hours when you should be sleeping but during the time where you should be awake. While bed rotting doesn’t come with a set of instructions, it can be spent doing just about anything… or nothing at all. Some bed-rotters enjoy watching films, playing games, scrolling through social media, reading or pampering themselves.
I know what you’re probably thinking: how is this self-care and not laziness? Well, the argument many people make in favour of bed rotting is that it’s a way of listening to what your mind and body needs, which is rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. As society has become laser-focused on productivity and getting as much done as possible each day, bed rotting is the antithesis of that and many sleep experts and scientists are encouraging people to get cosy and rest. However, others are saying that it can ruin your sleep and affect your health.
How does bed rotting impact your sleep and health?
Resting when your body needs it is incredibly important, as you don’t want to overexert yourself to the point of exhaustion. But, bed rotting for an entire day could be the answer to having a productive and energised week ahead. On the other hand, it could be doing more harm than good.
The main positive for bed rotting is rest. If you’ve had a busy week, you might want to hibernate on the weekend by barely moving out from under the covers. Or maybe you’ve just come back from a dinner with friends and need a few hours to recharge your batteries. Both are great ways to look after yourself and give your mind and body what it’s craving, plus it can result in you having a productive or happier week ahead.
Wellness has become a big priority in the past few years, and having a few hours of bed rotting can give you a chance to focus on things you enjoy. While you can do nothing during your bed rot, many people choose to prioritise their hobbies and self-care like reading, journaling, doing a face mask and meditating.
Now onto the negatives and why I’m not entirely on board with bed rotting. First, bed rotting can disrupt your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm. As stated by Maryanne Taylor, sleep consultant at The Sleep Works, “spending too much time lying in bed awake can reinforce the association between sleep and wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep in bed when you need to.” This is one of the rules for good sleep hygiene and if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, it can affect your health and performance.
If you’re using your phone or laptop while you bed rot, this can have an affect on your eye health. Consuming too much blue light and having your phone inches from your face can cause fatigue, twitching, redness and dryness. Not only does this make your eyes feel uncomfortable and irritated, but it can also lead to dry eye syndrome or computer vision syndrome, according to Alastair Lockwood, eye health specialist at Feel Good Contacts.
Other negatives associated with bed rotting is that it’s not great for the body as you’re not getting much movement or sunlight. Health professionals have also said that bed rotting could be a sign of depression and that some people could be using it to avoid problems, social interactions or important things that they should be doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping in on the weekend and lying in bed for an hour after waking up. But once I’m out of bed, I’m not getting back in as I need to differentiate between sleep and wakefulness so I can get a good night’s sleep. It’s always good to listen to your body especially if it needs rest but bed rotting for an entire day looks like it has more negatives than positives. If bed rotting helps you feel and perform better, it’s a pretty harmless trend to try but if you’re using it to avoid people and problems, it doesn’t sound healthy to me.