When you first hear the term “bed rotting,” you may think of needing a new mattress. After all, having something rotting in your bed like a seven-layer cake would not exactly be comforting. But what if the thing that’s rotting is actually you? Yes, the “bed rotting” term that’s being popularized on TikTok is referring to when you spent much or even all of your day in bed by choice.
The operative words here are “by choice.” If, for example, you got run over by a yak, staying in bed to recover from injuries would not be considered “bed rotting.” That would be more post-yak rest. No, a “bed rot” is when you feel stress or anxiety or in some way feel “overwrought” with emotion and then end up spending a lengthy period of time in bed to rest or cope. It doesn’t specify what exactly you are doing bed. You could be burritoing yourself in your blankets (yes, burrito can be a verb.) You could be watching Netflix. You could be eating. You could be talking on the phone. You could posting photos or videos of yourself on TikTok and labeling them the hashtag #bedrot. You could be, well, use your imagination about what else you can do in bed.
The key here is that the rot is not when you are simply sleeping in your bed during normal sleeping hours. It’s also not when you are not having sex with someone else. Using the word “rot” when getting it on with your partner, as in “I want to rot your world” would not exactly be the sexiest pillow talk.
No, folks on TikTok have been promoting bed rotting as a new Generation Z self-care approach. Whereas some may consider laying in bed all day to be a sign of laziness, the argument here is that “bed rotting” is better listening to your mind and body. It’s a needed opportunity to recharge and maybe even redirect your energy. Again, it’s Gen Z using their beds for something other than “ZZZZZZs.”
So where does treating yourself like some carrion luggage fall on the lazy to practicing good self-care scale? Is this something that should be discouraged or promoted? Well, the answer it sort of like absorbent, disposable underwear. It depends.
It’s totally OK to take days off here and there. It’s absurd to believe that you should be productive each and every day. Instead, it’s important to pace yourself. Some days you may be super-productive. On other days, you may feel like the final season of the Tv series How I Met Your Mother, kind of just going through the motions. So, there’s nothing wrong with making it a wrap in bed every now and then, even when it’s most of the day.
Problems emerge, of course, when you do the bed rot excessively. When you have to start checking your calendar and whether the seasons have changed during your bed rot, that’s a bad sign. It’s a bad idea to do anything in excess, except potentially when avocadoes are involved.
Another problem is when you are doing the bed rot to avoid doing something. If the last thing you did before the bed rot was say, “I’ll get you the report as soon as possible” or “Thanks for the marriage proposal, I’ll get back to you on it,” then the bed rot may be the best thing to do. Covering yourself in blankets, bedsheets, and Nutella can be a form of escapism. But it won’t solve many problems, unless you are in the mattress testing industry.
A third risk is when bed rotting begins to affect your health in a negative way. It can throw off your sleep patterns because you no longer associate your bed exclusively with sleep and feeling sleepy. It can be a bit like watching your boss covering himself in peanut butter and then having to eat a peanut butter sandwich. You may kind of lose your appetite. Similarly, spending so much time in bed can throw off your body’s cues as to when you should actually fall asleep.
Additionally, laying around bed all day is not great physically. It’s tough to get cardio in your bed. Plus, your body is not necessarily designed to lay around all day. Doing so excessively can lead to all sorts of aches and pains such as back problems.
If you are looking for a way to rest and cope with the stress of life, there are other alternatives to bed rotting. You can get some exercise like go running, take a bike ride, or play a sport. You can dance like no one’s watching or watch a bunch of people dancing. You can read a book or try to cook.
Ultimately, the measure of whether something is good or not to do is how it affects your health and life and how much control you have over it. Doing the bed rot thing every now and then should be OK as long as it doesn’t introduce more problems into your life. However, if you end up losing your job, your relationship, your friendships, or your savings because something is rotting in Denmark or wherever your bed may be located, then it’s become a problem. It’s also a problem when you can’t control how often and how long you bed rot. “I missed my cousin’s graduation because I was bed rotting” would be sign that you do not have the rot under control.
Finally, don’t let the bed sheets and blankets cover up any root problems that you maybe are ignoring. Before you go beddie-bye ask yourself why. For example, spending a lot of time in bed can be great for a relationship as long as your partner is there too.