'I tried Gen Z's "bed rotting" trend. As a mum in my 40s, it surprised me.'

On Monday I surprised myself by surrendering to a day of 'bed rotting' under a blanket in our lounge room watching TV alongside my poorly six-year-old.

It was a surprise, because while I enjoy relaxation as much as the next person, as a working mum, the opportunities to stop and 'rot' outside of my usual bedtime hours are sadly infrequent.

I have read plenty about the viral Gen Z term 'bed rotting' that, according to the University of Aberystwyth, involves retreating to bed, indulging in snacks and TV and ignoring life's responsibilities. It sounds a lot like something I did too much of in my early twenties, but not something I needed or had time for as a woman in my 40s.

These days, my self-care comes in other forms: A walk in nature, coffee with a friend, a hair appointment, or a timed 15-minute nap on Sunday.

But this week, something clicked and my need to just lie and rot on the sofa with my sick kid won out. 

And guess what? The world did not end. In fact, I enjoyed it. 

@pheobebridgersrat Enjoy this timelapse of me knocking my calendar off the wall lol #bedrotting #cosyvibes ♬ Fourth of July - Sufjan Stevens

This was surprising to me because Monday is usually my precious 'day off'. The one day I have each week that allows me to manage my extracurriculars without interfering with work, family commitments, or kids' sports. 

I usually jam my Mondays with appointments: a visit to my psychologist, a PT session or an eyebrow wax. Then I do a grocery shop, power through some washing and maybe dash to Kmart to pick up whatever item my kids need for book week/a friend's birthday party/homework project.

The last three Mondays were useless thanks to the winter school holidays, so this Monday, I was looking forward to it, and as usual, I had scheduled back-to-back activities well in advance.


I realised, however, my precious Monday might be in trouble on Saturday when my six-year-old began to look a bit off-colour.

By Sunday, things were looking bleak and I felt anxious that my scheduled day off was about to fall by the wayside. As Monday morning rolled around, I alerted the school to my poor child's sickness and began cancelling my day.

In the past, my instinct would have been to get cranky. 

Not at my son or anyone in particular but just at the situation and the fact our busy life is held together with delicate cobwebs. 

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But this week felt different. 

Perhaps because our lives have become inexplicably busy post-pandemic in both fun and work-related ways. Perhaps because my youngest son is six and I feel like the time I have left with him wanting to just hang out with me is finite. Perhaps I am clinging to him like a life raft and his relatively simple demands, in a sea of more complex tween-age emotions from my eldest son.

Or perhaps I was just exhausted and in need of a reason to lie down.


Whatever the reasons on Monday for not going 'business as usual', I just went with the flow and rested.

I got into some comfy tracksuit pants and we lay under the blanket with a collection of his favourite soft toys and watched back-to-back episodes of Shaun the Sheep on TV. 

I made myself a cup of tea and fetched the snacks, but we remained in our state of 'sofa rotting' for a few hours. It was cosy, and it was also fun; it reminded me of the sick days I had as a child at home with my mum watching old movies and eating toast. 

Eventually, I got up to put a single load of washing on and retrieved something from the freezer for dinner, but overall I was not productive and I did very little. And rather than being stressed, it turned out to be precisely what I needed.

Aussie sleep scientist Vanessa Hill says a bit of bed rotting is actually good for us.

"It's the end of optimisation, it's anti-productivity because you are wasting away under a blanket and the nothingness is your best life," Hill says about the trend in her TikTok that has been viewed 2.6 million times.

@braincraft In defence of #inbedrotting because it’s perfect 🛌💙 #lifehack #bedrot #bedrotting #bed #bedroomtok #sleepscientist #fyp ♬ Coastline - Hollow Coves

"I'm a sleep scientist who fact-checks a lot of trends and I am here to tell you that bed rotting is 100 percent backed by science. Just sink into your sheets and stay there."

She says that while some media outlets have criticised the "beautiful trend", people should feel they can rot under a blanket when they need to.

"You're allowed to live life under a blanket! Rest and be soft."


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Her empathic approach to bed rotting is backed by Dr Alice Vernon, Lecturer in Creative Writing and 19th-Century Literature from the University of Aberystwyth, who likens bed rotting to the Victorian era's trend for 'languishing'.

"Bed rotting is in line with other recent fads rejecting the simultaneous popularity of hustle culture and productivity cults," Dr Vernon writes in The Conversation.

"That mindset is still going strong on social media, too, but so are these new trends that promote slow living over trying to do something useful with every waking moment."

Dr Vernon writes that while she believes 'bed rotting' on TikTok is performative, it is a useful habit to return to when needed.

"Whatever the motivation for the trend, one thing is abundantly clear across the centuries: rest is something to be cherished as much as any moment in life."

I wholeheartedly agree, and now I cherish the memory.

We can all get caught up in the busyness of our own lives and while I am not glad my son was sick (he is fully recovered) it was a good reminder that sometimes just doing literally nothing but snacking and resting is EXACTLY what I need. 

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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