Bed Rotting: Self Care or Sleep Sabotage?

December 28, 20230

In the relentless pace of our modern lives, the notion of lingering in bed a little longer – a practice now termed “bed rotting” – sounds appealing. For women navigating the challenging terrain of menopause, this curious act of luxury and lethargy could be considered an antidote to life’s pressures. But as with any trend, it’s essential to weigh its merits against potential pitfalls. Is bed rotting an act of self-care, or does it tread the dangerous line of self-sabotage?

What is bed rotting?

Bed rotting describes the act of intentionally spending prolonged periods in bed, far beyond the time needed for sleep.

It involves not just the physical act of lying in bed, but also the deliberate choice to disengage from the demands of daily life, under the comfort of your duvet. The concept has seen a surge in popular culture, especially on social media platforms. Some trace its roots back to the Japanese phenomenon of “hikikomori”, where individuals withdraw from societal interactions, albeit bed rotting focuses more on temporary retreats rather than extended isolation.

The Impact of Bed Rotting on Sleep

In an era dominated by digital noise and ceaseless demands, the appeal of bed rotting is clear. It provides an escape from the outside world, and when you’re in the throes of hormonal changes, sleep disruptions, and emotional flux, bed rotting can seem like the perfect way to restore calm and balance. However, when examining its impact on sleep, the indulgence may have unintended consequences.

  • Disrupting the Circadian Rhythm
    At the heart of our sleep patterns lies the circadian rhythm, a finely tuned internal clock that regulates wakefulness and rest. By its nature, this rhythm is highly adaptable, but thrives best on consistency. Staying in bed beyond your body’s natural waking time can disrupt this rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep when night arrives or causing fragmented sleep patterns.
  • Creating Non-Sleep Associations with Bed
    One of the foundational principles of sleep hygiene is creating a clear association between the bed and sleep. Introducing activities apart from sleeping and intimacy into the bedroom environment, can run the risk of diluting this association.Bed rotting often involves reading, pondering, watching Netflix, or even working from bed. Over time, this can create a series of non-sleep associations. Your bed, which should signal the brain that it’s time to wind down and rest, may now be linked with mental alertness or even stress. This association can make falling asleep more challenging, leading to longer sleep onset latency (the time it takes to transition from full wakefulness to sleep) and reducing the overall quality of sleep.Furthermore, if you already struggle with insomnia or other sleep disturbances, introducing non-sleep associations can further exacerbate these challenges.
  • Reduced Sleep Efficiency
    Sleep efficiency refers to the ratio of time spent asleep to the total time spent in bed. With prolonged periods in bed, you  might find that you’re lying awake or in light, non-restorative sleep stages for more significant portions of time. This reduced efficiency can lead to feelings of grogginess upon waking, even after a seemingly long duration of “rest”.
The Verdict…

Sleep, as a pillar of health, deserves our utmost respect and understanding. While the concept of bed rotting may appeal to your desire for relaxation and retreat, it’s essential to recognise the potential repercussions on your sleep quality and overall well-being. As with all health choices, a balanced, informed approach is crucial. When considering those extra hours in bed, it might be worth pondering: is this a genuine act of self-care, or a momentary escape that could cost you more in the long run?

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