Bed Rotting: How Staying in Bed All Day Affects Teens

Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Rob Gent, PhD, LPC 

Is it healthy for a teen or young adult to stay in bed all day? Bed rotting, also known as hurkle durkling,  may seem like a luxury, but it can have serious consequences on both physical and mental health. From sleep issues to increased risk of depression, the effects of bed rotting on mental and physical health are something that all parents and young people should be aware of. 

What is Bed Rotting? 

Bed rotting is when a teen or young adult stays in bed for an extended amount of time doing things like watching TV, scrolling through social media, or snacking. Rotting in bed is a new trend that has gained popularity through platforms like TikTok, particularly among social media users in Gen Z. While it may initially seem like a harmless way for teens and young adults to relax and unwind, bed rotting can have negative consequences on a teen’s physical and mental health. 

Why Do Teens and Gen Z Find it Appealing to Stay in Bed All Day?

Teens and members of Generation Z may enjoy bed rotting because it provides an escape from reality due to social media popularity or from underlying mental health issues.  

  • Escapism: In a world driven by social media and constant connectivity, the idea of staying in bed all day offers a sense of escape and comfort.
  • Disconnection: It provides a space where they can disconnect from the demands of work, school, and social engagements, and indulge in passive activities that require minimal effort.
  • Burnout: Teens overwhelmed by the demands of school, extracurricular activities, and family responsibilities may find solace in bed rotting as a way to escape and recharge. However, this temporary relief can mask the underlying issues contributing to their burnout.
  • Excessive Free Time: One of the key factors contributing to the appeal of bed rotting is the abundance of free time that teens often have, especially in the summer months. With fewer responsibilities and obligations than adults, they have the luxury of spending extended periods in bed without major consequences. This free time allows them to engage in perceived enjoyable activities, like watching their favorite shows or scrolling through TikTok.
  • Social Media Popularity: Platforms like TikTok showcase trends and challenges that quickly gain popularity among users, including bed rotting. Seeing others participate in this trend can make it seem more appealing and socially acceptable. The validation and recognition received from peers through likes and comments further reinforce the appeal of bed rotting. 
  • Mental Health Issues: Mental Health Issues: For some teens and Gen Z individuals, bed rotting can be a manifestation of underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or self-esteem issues. The comfort and familiarity of their bed may act as a safe haven where they can retreat to cope with their emotions or symptoms.

What are the Warning Signs of a Teen Who is Bed Rotting? 

Teen who was bed rotting all night refuses to wake up in the morning.
Teen who was bed rotting all night refuses to wake up in the morning.

Some of the warning signs of bed rotting in teens include staying in bed all day, sleep issues, excessive technology use, social isolation, or changes in mood and behavior. 

  1. Spending All Day In Bed: Spending all day in bed can be a warning sign of bed rotting in teens. Teens or young adults who spend all day or multiple days in bed may be bed rotting. 
  2. Lack of Motivation or Disinterest in Other Activities: One key warning sign is a lack of motivation or interest in engaging in activities outside of bed. Bed rotting teens may show disinterest in hobbies, socializing, or even attending school. They may prefer passive activities like watching TV, scrolling through their phones, spending all night playing video games, or lying in bed. 
  3. Excessive or Compulsive Phone and Technology Use: Excessive phone usage is another red flag. Bed rotting often involves spending hours scrolling through social media, watching videos, or playing games on their devices. Technology-related activities like social media scrolling can be physically and mentally addictive for teens due to the design of these technologies and the chemicals that are consistently released into the brain during use. This excessive screen time can further contribute to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the real world.
  4. Changes in Mood: Changes in mood and behavior are common signs of bed rotting. Teens who are bed rotting may exhibit increased irritability, moodiness, or sadness. They may become more withdrawn and isolate themselves from friends and family. These changes in mood and behavior can be indicative of underlying mental health issues or a lack of fulfillment in their lives. 
  5. Social Withdrawal: Social withdrawal is another warning sign to watch out for in teens who may be experiencing bed rotting. They may start avoiding social interactions, preferring the solitude of their bed over spending time with friends or family. This withdrawal can further exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation, feeding into the cycle of bed rotting. 
  6. Appetite Changes: Changes in appetite are another common symptom associated with bed rotting. Teens may experience fluctuations in their eating habits, such as overeating or undereating. 
  7. Sleep Issues: Another aspect affected by bed rotting is sleep. Teens who spend excessive amounts of time in bed may experience disruptions in their sleep patterns. They may struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping too much during the day, or feeling constantly tired despite spending long hours in bed. 
  8. School Issues and Neglecting Responsibilities: As bed rotting takes hold, teens often neglect schoolwork and other responsibilities. Their grades may suffer, they might miss deadlines, or they may refuse to attend school

While it’s normal for teens to need some additional sleep when they are growing, parents and caregivers should pay attention to these warning signs if they continue for an extended period of time. 

Are There Healthy Benefits of Bed Rotting for Teens?

While occasional rest (an average of 10 hours of productive sleep per 24-hour period) and relaxation are important for teens, spending excessive amounts of time in bed and bed rotting is generally unhealthy for their overall well-being and does not have significant benefits for teens. Some of the main reasons bed rotting can be unhealthy include the lack of physical activity, disrupted sleep patterns, a possible increase in social isolation, loneliness, and other mental health issues, such as fatigue and tiredness. 

How Does Bed Rotting Affect Teen Mental Health?

Staying in bed for long periods and bed rotting can increase anxiety, depression, and worsen feelings of social isolation and loneliness in teens. Negative side effects to teen mental health from excessive time include worsening: 


Bed rotting can intensify feelings of anxiety in teens. By retreating to their bed and avoiding social engagements, teens may miss opportunities for social connection and support. This isolation can lead to a sense of loneliness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety, as they may feel disconnected from their peers. 


Teen bed rotting can spiral into depression, a serious mental health condition. A teen may use excessive bedtime as an escape from underlying issues, leading to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. 

Social Isolation 

Social isolation from excessive bed rotting can significantly impact a teen’s social engagements and relationships. Constantly withdrawing from family demands and enjoyable activities to stay in bed all day may lead to a sense of disconnection and dissatisfaction. 


Bed rotting can intensify feelings of loneliness in teens. Constantly isolating themselves in bed can prevent teens from forming meaningful connections with others, leading to a sense of loneliness and emotional emptiness. 

Self-Esteem Issues 

Bed rotting can contribute to self-esteem issues in teens. Constantly staying in bed and avoiding social interactions may make teens feel unproductive, lazy, or unworthy. This avoidance can further lower their self-esteem and confidence levels, creating a negative cycle of self-doubt and lack of motivation. 

Overall Mental Health 

The prolonged practice of bed rotting can result in a significant decline in mental health for teenagers. This behavior not only exacerbates existing conditions like anxiety and depression but can also lead to a worsening of overall emotional well-being. The lack of engagement in meaningful activities and social interactions can worsen mental illness symptoms and create a cycle of passivity, where teens may rely on bed rotting as a coping mechanism rather than seeking healthier ways to manage their emotions and stress. 

How Can I Help My Teen Who is Bed Rotting Excessively? 

Parents can help teens who are bed rotting by setting time aside to communicate with teens, encouraging healthy habits like healthy eating, limiting screen time, promoting physical activity, establishing healthy routines for sleep, sharing DBT skills like mindfulness, and providing a supportive home environment for teens.  

1. Communicating Empathetically With Teens 

As a parent or caregiver, engaging in empathetic communication with your teen who may be struggling with bed rotting is key to understanding their emotions and needs. Listen actively, validate their feelings, and create a safe space for honest conversations. By showing support and empathy, you can help them navigate through their challenges and develop healthier coping mechanisms. 

2. Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits 

Ensuring your teen maintains a balanced diet is crucial in combating bed rotting. Nutrient-rich foods can positively impact their mental and physical health, aiding mood regulation and energy levels. Fiber, fruits, and vegetables should be staples in their diet to promote overall well-being. Limiting sugary snacks and encouraging hydration can also enhance their focus and immune system.

3. Reducing Screen Time and Increasing Real-world Interactions 

Limiting screen time while promoting face-to-face interactions is crucial for combating bed rotting among teens. Encourage activities that involve personal engagement rather than digital connectivity; it helps foster real relationships and reduce social isolation. Prioritize outdoor activities, sports, or community engagements that promote physical and mental well-being. Balancing virtual interactions with real-world experiences aids in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and mitigating the negative impacts of social media and phone usage on our mental health, particularly for young adults. 

4. Practicing Only Sleeping in Bed and Lounging in Other Areas 

Encouraging your teen to practice only sleeping in bed and lounging in other areas can help break the cycle of bed rotting. Relating the bed strictly with sleep reinforces a healthy circadian rhythm. This practice promotes better sleep hygiene and prevents the bed from becoming an all-day comfort zone for teens. 

5. Starting a Regular Exercise Routine with Teens 

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Bed Rotting: How Staying in Bed All Day Affects Teens 3

Encouraging a regular exercise routine with teens is crucial in combating bed rotting. Exercise helps regulate the circadian rhythm, combatting excessive screen time, a common factor in bed rotting. Participating in enjoyable activities like sports or yoga with teens or young adults can encourage them to leave their comfort zone and engage with others. Incorporating exercise into a teen’s routine can help them experience a boost in energy levels and enhance their overall mood.  

6. Creating a Supportive Environment at Home for Teens 

Encourage open communication, understanding, and empathy within your household. Foster a space where teens feel safe expressing their emotions without judgment, especially around mental health issues or challenges. Actively listen to your teen when they need to open up and put away all phones when you communicate with them. 

7. Teaching Mindfulness and DBT Skills 

Teaching mindfulness and DBT skills can significantly aid teens struggling with bed rotting. These techniques can help them manage stress, regulate emotions, and improve their overall well-being. Mindfulness practices help them stay present and reduce anxiety. At the same time, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) equips them with strategies to cope with intense emotions effectively. Encouraging these skills fosters a healthy mindset and empowers teens to navigate challenges with resilience and self-awareness. 

When Do I Need to Seek Out Treatment for My Teen Who is Bed Rotting? 

If your teen is showing unhealthy signs of bed rotting excessively or other signs of mental health issues, or sleeping all day persists despite a parent’s best efforts, seeking mental health treatment could be a helpful next step. 

We understand how difficult it can be for teens, young adults, and their families who are going through difficult mental health challenges. If you’re looking for some treatment options in the summer that can help teens overcome mental health issues, look at our summer treatment programs offered online and across the United States! 

Bed Rotting: Moving Forward 

Teens will always need some extra rest to overcome the hormonal changes and periods of growth. An occasional rot day, or day in bed, may not be a sign of a larger issue. Still, if your teen or young adult is staying in bed for multiple days at a time or showing signs of using bed rotting as a coping mechanism or other negative mental health symptoms, it could be a sign of more serious underlying mental health issues.

If you’re worried about your adolescent, teen, or young adult showing any signs of underlying mental health issues, such as staying in bed for an entire day, we’re here to help. Call us at 866-479-3050 or contact us and we’ll provide an assessment of possible mental health issues your teen might be experiencing and walk you through each step of the healing journey. 

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Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health is a leading network of outpatient centers and residential programs offering premier mental health treatment for preteens, teens, and young adults. Dedicated to its big mission of reversing the trends of teen and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide by 2028, Embark offers a robust continuum of care with different levels of service and programming; has a deep legacy of over 25 years serving youths; works with families to adjust treatment in real time to improve results; treats the entire family using an evidence-supported approach; and offers the highest levels of quality care and safety standards. For more information about Embark or its treatment programs, including virtual services, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), therapeutic day treatment programs, also known as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), residential treatment, and outdoor therapy, visit