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The art of bed rotting: A self-care practice demystified

The art of bed rotting: A self-care practice demystified

Our fast-paced lives are filled with endless to-do lists and constant demands—and from the pandemonium arises a new, social-media-fuelled self-care trend: Bed rotting. To bed rot means to spend the day resting in bed, perusing social media, watching streaming services, or simply journaling or napping.

Although staying in bed might not seem like a productive or self-improvement activity, the benefits of bed rotting should not be underestimated as a self-care technique. Beyond just being a place for restful slumber, your bed can transform into a sanctuary of self-care, a haven for relaxation, and a hub for personal growth. 

Discover how embracing the simple act of staying in bed could lead to enhanced well-being and a more balanced, fulfilling life when this practice is used in moderation.

What Is Bed Rotting and Its Origin?

Bed rotting is an emerging trend that’s taken TikTok by storm. It involves prolonged periods of remaining in bed, not for slumber, but for engaging in passive activities such as munching on snacks, binge-watching TV shows, meditating, or scrolling through electronic devices. 

Though the exact origin of the trend isn’t known, the phenomenon is especially prevalent among Gen Z individuals, many of whom are experiencing a sense of burnout due to the pressures of work, school, family obligations, and social commitments.

What Does the Term Bed Rotting Mean?

The actual word itself originates from the 19th and 20th centuries when bedridden individuals would experience loss of circulation and skin issues arising from remaining sedentary for long periods while ill.

The Bed Rotting Trend Explained

According to Katherine Glaser, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) from Thriveworks in Tampa, FL, “The term bed-rotting is all the rage on social media TikTok and among Gen Z individuals. It describes staying in bed for hours at a time outside of bedtime hours.  It can be a way to recoup from stress, work, and the world in general.” 

This latest TikTok craze encourages hours spent scrolling through social media, binge-watching TV, reading, and indulging in snacks, all within the cozy confines of your comforter. To bed rot might sound unhealthy (and certainly can be in excess), but occasionally, bed rotting might give some individuals a much-needed boost in their mental health and physical well-being.

The Benefits of Bed Rotting for Your Well-Being

Bed rotting can be a form of self-care when done mindfully and in moderation. Here are some ways in which staying in bed rotting can benefit your well-being:

  • Providing physical rest and recovery: Staying in bed allows your body to rest and recover. Sleep is essential for physical health, and even simply lying in bed can give your body a break. It helps to alleviate physical fatigue and promote healing.
  • Offering a mental and emotional respite: Our minds are constantly bombarded with information and stressors. Staying in bed can be a way to unplug and provide your mind with a break from the outside world. It offers a temporary escape from daily stressors and promotes mental relaxation.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety: Staying in bed in a comfortable and secure environment can reduce stress and anxiety. The feeling of warmth and safety in your bed can trigger the release of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, which reduces stress.
  • Aiding in recovery from sickness: If you’re unwell, staying in bed is a form of self-care. It allows your body to focus on healing without the added stress of daily activities. Rest is an integral part of recovery.
  • Aiding in meditation: Your bed can serve as a serene space for mindfulness and meditation practices. You can practice deep breathing, meditation, or visualization exercises to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Helping you unwind after a long day: Staying in bed after a busy day can be a way to unwind and relax. It’s an excellent way to take a break, read a book, or simply rest, allowing you to recharge and prepare for the next day.
  • Supplementing a self-care day at home: You can create a spa-like experience at home while in bed. Use scented candles, essential oils, and soothing music to transform your bed into a cozy retreat for pampering yourself.
  • Offering an opportunity for self-reflection and self-awareness: Staying in bed can offer you the time and space for self-reflection. It’s an opportunity to check in with yourself, assess your feelings, and nurture self-awareness.
  • Giving you a space for reflective activities: Engaging in mindful activities while in bed, such as reading, journaling, or practicing gratitude, can enhance your overall well-being.

Just remember—spending excessive time in bed can lead to lethargy and negatively impact your well-being. Striking a balance is key, which means you shouldn’t use bed rotting too often. 

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How to Practice Bed Rotting Effectively

To practice bed rotting effectively, you can start by:

  • Creating a cozy environment: Make your bed as inviting as possible. Use soft blankets, fluffy pillows, and your favorite sheets to create a comfortable space where you can truly unwind.
  • Reading a book: Enjoy some leisurely reading. Choose a book that interests you and get lost in its pages. Reading can be a great way to escape and relax.
  • Meditating: Practice mindfulness or meditation in bed. Focus on your breath, clear your mind, and find inner peace. Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Watching your favorite show or movie: Treat yourself to a TV show or movie you love. It’s a great way to unwind and be entertained.
  • Enjoying a snack: Savor a delicious and healthy snack. Opt for something that you truly enjoy, like fresh fruit, nuts, or a small piece of dark chocolate.
  • Taking a nap: If you’re feeling tired, don’t hesitate to take a short nap. A power nap can refresh you and improve your mood.
  • Hydrating: Keep a glass of water or herbal tea on your bedside table. Staying hydrated is an essential part of self-care.
  • Skincare: Consider wearing a face mask, applying moisturizer, or simply cleansing your face. Pampering your skin can make you feel refreshed.
  • Journaling: Write down your thoughts, feelings, or things you’re grateful for. Journaling can be a therapeutic way to process your emotions.
  • Practicing gentle stretching: Do some light stretching exercises or yoga poses in bed to relieve tension and promote relaxation.
  • Breathing exercises: Focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths to calm your nervous system and reduce stress.
  • Listening to music: Play calming music or your favorite tunes to set the mood and enhance your relaxation.
  • Affirmations: Recite positive affirmations. This practice can boost your self-esteem and promote a positive mindset.
  • Setting boundaries: It’s essential to establish boundaries. If you’ve designated this time for self-care, make it clear to others that you need some uninterrupted space.

Remember that self-care in bed should be a guilt-free and personal experience. Tailor your routine to your preferences and needs, and make it a regular practice to prioritize your well-being.

However, Glaser recommends that bed rotting be saved for the weekends. “Using a day at the beginning or middle of the week could possibly derail your momentum from getting things accomplished at school or work,” says Glazer.

Incorporating Bed Rotting into Your Self-Care Routine

When it comes to bed rotting, you mustn’t use this trending self-care technique too often—once or twice a month should suit you. Here are some strategies to help you resist the temptation of lingering in bed excessively:

  • Set a schedule: Establish a daily routine with a set wake-up time. Having a consistent schedule can regulate your body’s internal clock and make it easier to get out of bed.
  • Practice mindfulness and motivation: Practice mindfulness techniques or read motivational quotes to help you kickstart your day with a positive mindset.
  • Reward yourself: Create a reward system for getting out of bed on time. When you consistently meet your wake-up goals, treat yourself to something you enjoy.
  • Use a healthy sleep routine: Ensure that you are getting quality sleep at night. If you’re well-rested, you’ll be more inclined to rise and shine in the morning.
  • Use accountability apps: Consider using apps designed to help you stick to a waking schedule. Some apps require you to solve puzzles or take a picture of a specific object to turn off the alarm.
  • Professional help: If you find it exceptionally challenging to overcome the urge to stay in bed, consider speaking with a therapist or sleep specialist who can provide guidance and support. Remember that forming new habits takes time, so be patient with yourself as you work on avoiding staying in bed too long. 

Adjust these strategies to your unique needs and lifestyle for the best results.

Expert Tips for Maximizing the Benefits

Some smart ways to maximize the benefits of bed rotting include:

  • Set goals: Set clear objectives for your day. Knowing what you want to achieve out of your bed rotting session can help you make the most out of your relaxation.
  • Accountability partner: Share your goals with a friend or family member. They can check in on your progress and provide encouragement.
  • Avoid the bed during the day if you aren’t bed rotting: Don’t use your bed too often for activities other than sleeping or intimate moments. When you reserve your bed only for sleep, you’re less likely to lounge around in it on days when you aren’t bed rotting.
  • Stay hydrated: Leave a glass of water by your bedside table. Having a drink of water can help you feel more awake, relaxed, and refreshed. 

As Glazer points out, “Taking a day from time to time to recharge our mental health batteries is a good idea for anyone to do and from the cozy cocoon of your bed can be the most appealing way to do so.” 

Just remember, staying in bed as a form of self-care should be done in moderation and with mindfulness. It’s essential to find a balance that works for you and to avoid excessive inactivity. By incorporating bed-based self-care into your routine, you can harness its benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional health.

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Jason CrosbyMental Health Writer

Jason Crosby is a Senior Copywriter at Thriveworks. He received his BA in English Writing from Montana State University with a minor in English Literature. Previously, Jason was a freelance writer for publications based in Seattle, WA, and Austin, TX.

We only use authoritative, trusted, and current sources in our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our efforts to deliver factual, trustworthy information.

  • Marples, M. (2023, July 8). Bed rotting: TikTok’s latest trend reveals the toxic side of self-care. CNN.

  • Sharma, M. Et al. (2023, May). Adverse effect of social media on generation Z user’s behavior: Government information support as a moderating variable. Science Direct.

  • Steinberg, F. U. (1990, March). The effects of immobilization on the skin. SpringerLink.

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