If you spent a good portion of your summer rotting in bed, you’re definitely not alone. On TikTok, bed rotting has racked up over 162 million views, which just goes to show we’ve all been taking a few more naps. The idea of the practice is to rest and relax — i.e. “rot” — as much as you need. But there is a time when people might be vegging out a little too much.
The moment everyone started to talk about the joy of bed rotting on social media, it seemed there were just as many people worrying about the side effects of it, which included a possible worsening of depression. At its core, though, it’s important to remember that bed rotting is simply the act of luxuriating under your covers while you rest, read, scroll social media, or zone out. Apart from the cheeky name, the concept is obviously nothing new.
A bed rot day feels right whenever you’re burnt out or overwhelmed, and it genuinely is a good way to recharge, especially for the introverts of the world, says Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear. “Introverts, who often are taxed by too much social activity, may find that staying in bed is a perfect way to regain their emotional and physical energy,” she tells Bustle. Think: a cozy Sunday in bed after a busy Saturday.
When done intentionally, bed rotting could also be viewed as a purposeful way to slow down and reject the constant busyness of hustle culture. Instead of adding more things to your to-do list, you choose to chill more regularly — and there’s nothing wrong with that. For many, bed rotting is also a way to deal with a tough day, cope with pain, recover after being sick, and the list goes on. But experts caution that you shouldn’t take it too far — here’s what to know.
Is Bed Rotting Bad For You?
According to Manly, it’s OK to chill out as long as you don’t feel stuck in bed. If you’re doing it to avoid something, or if you sense that depression really is settling in, those are two more clues that you need to take a closer look and check in on yourself. “Ideally, bed rotting is a tool to relax and revitalize, but you’ll know something’s amiss if your time in bed is doing the opposite,” she says.
To stop your bed rot ritual from going too far, Manly suggests rotting in moderation or only when you truly need it, like after an extra stressful day. “Any activity that’s taken too far will have downsides,” she says. “The key to bed rotting is mindfulness and moderation — use bed rotting as a wellness tool, rather than an excuse to avoid participating in your own life.”
It might also help to call it something else. “On a neurolinguistic level, the term ‘bed rotting’ evokes a sense of deterioration and decline,” Manly says. While the term is catchy, she suggests thinking of it something like “bed rejuvenation” instead.
Bed Rotting Alternatives
If you feel tired, burnt out, or have a raging introvert hangover, but still don’t want to give into the call of your sheets, Manly recommends stepping out in nature instead. “It’s one of the best antidotes to burnout and life fatigue,” she says. Walk your dog, sit on a park bench, go for a hike in the woods, or pull up a stoop and people-watch.
Being creative can also feel just as refreshing. “From painting, dancing, singing, and gardening to baking and crafting, creativity can be incredibly restorative and cathartic,” Manly says. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with bed rotting, it isn’t the only way to revive yourself.
Oerlemans, WG. (2014). Burnout and daily recovery: a day reconstruction study. J Occup Health Psychol. doi: 10.1037/a0036904.