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August 1, 2023/Daily Health Stories

Is ‘Bed Rotting’ Harmful for Kids’ Mental Health?

Trending on social media, "bed rotting" is a form of so-called self-care where kids dedicate an entire day to staying in bed. A child psychologist weighs in on how this could impact their mental health.

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CLEVELAND – The term ‘bed rotting’ is taking off on social media.

It’s when someone decides to spend all day in bed – scrolling through social media or binge-watching their favorite show.

Younger people are embracing it as a form of self-care, but when can it turn negative for their mental health?

“‘Bed rotting’ can become a problem if you are doing it in the context to avoid something, or you feel like you are not physically or emotionally able to get out of bed,” explained Emily Mudd, PhD, a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “For example, if you’re staying in bed because you’re anxious about something or you’re doing it to avoid social interactions.”

Dr. Mudd said constant pressure to be productive can be overwhelming, especially for kids.

With this in mind, taking a day off to rest in bed isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Dr. Mudd said that time to relax can help a child de-stress – but urges against using a concept like ‘bed rotting’ as a primary coping skill.

Spending too much time in bed can lead to social isolation, which is a risk factor for mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

So, what should parents keep in mind?

“If you’re a parent and your child has been spending significant periods of time in bed, that is a raise for concern,” Dr. Mudd said. “Children have social, developmental and emotional needs that cannot be met by being solitary in bed. They have activity-based needs, like being with peers and academic learning. Although rest is important, these activities are crucial for social, emotional and cognitive development.”

Dr. Mudd encourages parents to keep an open, non-judgmental dialogue with their kids about mental health.

She adds that parents should seek the help of a medical professional if a child is showing symptoms of depression or anxiety.

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