Alon Avidan, MD, MPH: Is ‘Bed Rotting’ Good or Bad for Your Sleep?

Alon Avidan, MD, MPH

"The grueling stretch between New Year’s Day and springtime can seem interminable. It’s tempting to spend the long, gray months in hibernation mode with a book or your phone while you await brighter days.

Enter “bed rotting,” the Internet’s new favorite inactive activity. More entertaining than just sleeping in and somehow even less productive than being a couch potato, choosing to bed rot is a popular TikTok mental health trend associated with “reclaiming” time that might otherwise be spent on working, exercising, studying or other “productive” activities. It may mean you opt to stay in bed from sunrise to sunset for perhaps even a whole weekend or more, only leaving it to use the bathroom, get food or retrieve other essentials. Some “rotters” report feeling rejuvenated afterward. One Reddit user claimed three days of staying in bed had given them “the best mental focus ... in about 2 months.” The post continues: “I felt as if my body was due for a massive upgrade I had been putting off.”

Some who choose to start bed rotting might find this practice restorative. But its ostensible benefits can backfire, mucking up the mind and body’s most reliable, natural method of resetting.


If you’re staying in bed just a little too much, Avidan emphasizes the importance of understanding why you feel the need to do so in the first place. For example, staying in bed may not only be helpful but essential to those with a disabling chronic illness like long COVID. The issue may also stem from burnout, a physiological problem that can hamper good sleep and all its benefits, or a nagging issue in your waking life. To snap out of a rut, Avidan advises waking up early in your sleep-wake cycle, no matter when you went to sleep, and basking in some natural light, if possible, for about an hour. If you routinely consume caffeine, make sure you get it in within a few hours of waking so it won’t impinge on your sleep drive later. And if you feel sleepy, take a 20-minute power nap in the middle of your day."

Read more in Scientific American.