Bed Rotting: Health Benefits and Risks of Spending All Day in Bed

Social media is welcoming a new self-care ritual: bed rotting. Creators say the trend, which involves lazing in bed for hours to days at a time, can help with mental health. But while it can be rejuvenating to take a rest day every once in a while, experts warn that staying bedridden for too long can be harmful to your physical and mental health.

Here’s what to know about the benefits and risks of bed rotting — including how to engage in the trend without taking it too far, as well as other ways to practice self-care.

[READ: How Social Media Superstars Practice Self-Care.]

What Is Bed Rotting?

Bed rotting is a social media term that refers to spending large amounts of time resting but not sleeping in bed. “Rots” can last from a few hours to a few days, during which time the “rotter,” if you will, replaces productive activities like work, school and (potentially) personal hygiene routines with idle activities like phone scrolling, binge-watching TV shows, eating and vegging out.

This trend is most popular among members of Gen Z, who may feel burnout from work and other demands.

Bed Rotting Health Effects

In today’s fast-paced world, enthusiasts say bed rotting is a way to let your body and mind recharge from commitments and responsibilities. And mental health experts agree — to an extent.

“Taking a day off or even a weekend from the world and staying in bed can be rejuvenating for some,” says Dr. Andrea Papa-Molter, the chief medical officer at Advantage Behavioral Health in Laurel Springs, New Jersey. “Staying in bed all day allows someone to take a needed break from the daily grind. It allows one to recharge. It is a form of self-care for most people and is safe for short periods of time.”

While it’s important to practice self-care and manage stress, staying in bed all day for multiple days, however, can have negative health consequences.

“Humans need exercise, vitamin D from the sun, as well as socialization to survive,” Papa-Molter says.

[SEE: Best Ways to Practice Self-Care.]

Bed Rotting and Mental Health

While a quick bed-rotting session may provide temporary comfort or escape for some, curling up for too long can pose more harm than good.

“It becomes detrimental when someone avoids contact with others. This can cause feelings of isolation,” Papa-Molter says. “Humans are innately social and need interaction with other humans. Isolation and loneliness in turn can cause depressive symptoms and possibly anxiety.”

It can also exacerbate existing feelings of sadness and lethargy. And if you go too long in bed, causing you to miss work, school or other obligations, that could cause you to feel even more stressed. Engaging in fewer activities can also further fuel a cycle of depression or anxiety,

If you find yourself bed rotting for days on end or have no desire to participate in normal daily activities, you may want to talk to a loved one, medical professional or mental health professional about how you are feeling. These could be signs that you are experiencing a mental health condition and could benefit from some extra support.

Long-term bed rotting may be particularly harmful for older adults, who may be “more vulnerable to the effects of isolation,” Papa-Molter adds.

“It concerns me if I see an elderly person isolated and staying in bed all day on a regular basis,” she says. It’s crucial to stay active and connected with others, as sedentary lifestyles can lead to medical issues especially in the elderly population.

Still, that doesn’t mean you have to be ultra-social and productive every day. Rest days don’t have to be harmful if they are used in moderation — such as one or two days at a time, Papa-Molter says.

[READ: How to Overcome Social Anxiety.]

Bed Rotting and Physical Health

Staying in bed for too long can have physical health consequences too. As with mental health, people can be more vulnerable to physical health consequences the longer they engage in bed rotting.

Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, says that two worrisome side effects of staying in bed too long (without sleeping) are symptoms of insomnia and/or muscle weakness. Bed rotting can also lead to blood clotting.


If you sleep in a bed every night, your body associates your bed with rest — which can help you get into the habit of sleeping through the night. When you do other activities in bed, however, your body may struggle to make this association and have a harder time falling asleep at night.

“Spending time in your bed when you’re not sleeping or having sex is known to disturb people’s sleep patterns,” Cutler says. “It can result in sleep disturbances, particularly insomnia where people then get trained to consciously — or perhaps unconsciously — lay in bed and not sleep.”

[READ: Acupuncture for Insomnia: How Acupuncture Can Help You Sleep.]

Muscle weakness

When people are bedridden for long time periods, they can be at risk for muscle loss or weakness. These risks are particularly high for people who are hospitalized or for other health reasons need to stay in bed.

In some cases, Cutler explains that bedridden patients may:

— Suffer from physical deterioration

— Have deconditioning, a decline in physical function of the body as a result of physical inactivity

— Have lower exercise capacity

— Get muscle wasting by not using their muscles

That doesn’t mean hope is lost if you are bedridden. Having a good physical therapy team is important, as they can help with a range of functions like joint mobility, muscle strength and muscle toning, Cutler says.

Blood Clotting

A blood clot is a serious medical problem. It has potential to lead to a heart attack, stroke or death. One risk factor that may cause a blood clot is staying inactive for a long period of time. Bed rotting for many hours a day may lead to blood clots or further complications.

Bed Rotting and Personal Hygiene

Some people who engage in bed rotting may refrain from personal hygiene activities, like taking a shower. While this may leave you a little “less fresh,” it’s probably not going to hurt your health, Cutler says. So if you want to rot — that may be a safe aspect of the trend to take advantage of.

“We’ve become a very hygiene-conscious society, but there are many places where people only shower once or twice a week — so I don’t think that’s an issue,” Cutler says. “If there are areas of the body that are dirty, you can wipe them off.”

Still, going without showering for extended periods of time can leave you looking and feeling unwell. Refraining from brushing your teeth for too long can also be detrimental to your oral health.

How to Bed Rot Safely

People who want to participate in the bed rotting trend may be able to do so with slim to no consequences. So go ahead and have some lazy you-time. Just be sure to follow these tips:

Set a time limit for your bed rot. Depending on your fatigue level, that could be a few hours to a day.

Consider any personal medical advice. Has your doctor given you any specific exercise, movement or nutrition recommendations? Ask yourself if a bed rot fits in with or goes against their medical advice.

Check in with your emotions. Ask yourself if isolating in bed is what you need, or if you would benefit from social interactions. This answer may vary from person-to-person, or day-to-day.

Check in with your mental health. Ask yourself why you are feeling drained. Can staying in bed help you recharge?

Check in with your physical sensations. Does staying in bed feel good, or is your body in need of some stretching or movement?

Check in with yourself again after your bed rot. Did this activity leave you feeling recharged? Or do you feel even more anxious or stressed?

Evaluate your mental health as a whole. Especially if you do not feel recharged, what are you feeling instead? Signs of depression can include but are not limited to not feeling hopeful, not finding enjoyment in activities that previously brought you joy and thoughts of harming yourself or others.

Remember, having fatigue after a long day or week is normal, but if it is interfering with your work, social life or other important activities, then it is a good idea to discuss your symptoms with a doctor. It may also be helpful to talk to a therapist who can help you learn new coping skills, get to the root cause of your bed rotting and determine if there is some mental health issue going on.

Better Alternatives to Bed Rotting

People who want to steer clear of rots and risks altogether may benefit from other methods of recharging.

Here are a few alternatives:

— Reading a book

— Exercising or doing yoga

— Having coffee or going for a walk with a friend

— Being intentional about spending time off of social media

— Meditation

“Find something that gives you joy and pleasure,” Papa-Molter says. “This will help to alleviate some stress in your life and allow you to feel rejuvenated.”

People who feel enticed to bed rot may also want to evaluate why they are feeling this way, and if they are experiencing any mental health symptoms that should be professionally addressed.

“People who are feeling so emotionally drained that they can’t engage in their usual activities need to see a mental health professional,” Cutler says. He recommends seeking additional support if you find yourself experiencing loss of appetite, not finding usual activities enjoyable or having any thoughts of harming yourself or others.

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Bed Rotting: Health Benefits and Risks of Spending All Day in Bed originally appeared on

Update 07/02/24: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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