Contrary to its alarming name, ‘bed rotting’ does not denote neglecting hygiene or starving oneself. Instead, it implies a practice of normalizing extended periods spent in bed for relaxation and comfort.
This trend, largely endorsed on platforms like TikTok, seems to have gained traction, with many adopting it as a way to manage stress and anxiety, using their bed as a refuge from the world’s challenges.
The concept of ‘bed rotting’ resonates with the idea of indulging in a day of leisure, enjoying takeout meals and binge-watching favorite shows while in bed. While this might be a much-needed respite on days off, the trend has raised concerns about its effects on mental health and well-being.
Dr. Katrina Ostmeyer, a psychologist and CEO at Beyond the Individual LLC, warns against the potential harmful impact of ‘bed rotting’ on mental health. She highlights that remaining in bed and engaging in passive activities restricts opportunities for experiencing fulfillment and meaning in life, which could worsen mental health conditions.
However, Happier Human offers an opposing viewpoint, asserting that ‘bed rotting’ is an empowering coping mechanism that helps alleviate stress and anxiety, prevents burnout, and aids in mental rejuvenation.
Dr. Jessi Gold, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University, took to TikTok to discuss the phenomenon. She noted that stress, anxiety, and exhaustion can prompt the urge to stay in bed. Gold suggested that the key lies in recognizing whether such sleep is restorative or merely a means of avoidance. She prompted individuals to question their motivations behind spending prolonged periods in bed, emphasizing the importance of understanding whether it’s a genuine need for rest or an escape from stress.
The message is not to resist the impulse to ‘bed rot’ at all times, but rather to introspect and discern the reason behind this behavior. Understanding the underlying causes can help distinguish between rest that is rejuvenating and much-needed, and seclusion that stems from avoiding anxiety and stress.