Staying in Bed Isn’t Good for My Mental Health

I am not very good at waking up in the morning. I’ve written about this in the past, but it hasn’t made things any easier. When the alarm goes off, I hit snooze. I’ve calculated how long it takes me to get ready in the morning, and I am prepared to use the minimum amount of time to get dressed and head off to work. I’m not proud of it, but that’s my reality.

I’m also not very good at going to sleep at night. This often happens because it’s hard to turn off an anxious brain, but other factors play into it as well. There are plenty of tips out there about falling asleep in an efficient manner, and I’m pretty sure I’ve tried almost every single one. Some have worked better than others, but I haven’t found that secret formula that gets me to fall asleep in a timely manner; I usually sit in bed for a half-hour or more before drifting off to sleep.

But one thing I am getting much better at is not staying in bed. If I’m not sleeping, I’m not in my bed. It’s an important distinction and one that has improved my mental health.

The connection between sleep and mental health is deeper than you realize. Getting the most out of your time in bed could be a key factor in improving your mental health and even though it’s hard for me, I understand those benefits. Though sleep is essential to your health, staying in bed for too long or being in bed too often makes it harder to cope with your mental illnesses. When my depression is the worst, all I want to do is stay in bed and sleep. It’s my refuge, my place of safety from the world. And though it makes me feel better in the moment, I always regret staying in bed for too long and hate myself for it. It’s not a great long-term solution, and it does not improve my mental health.

I remember in college, I could stay in my bed for hours at a time – watching television, doing schoolwork, even eating meals. I developed a dependency on my bed that was not only unhealthy but extremely unhelpful. I don’t have that relationship anymore, and I think that’s because I realized how much of a hindrance this behavior was in my daily life.

I’m not asking much of you this week, but I’d encourage you to be aware of how much time you spend in bed. Is it a place for sleeping, or do you spend more time there than you realize? I’m not asking you to change how you deal with your mental health or mental illness, but becoming aware of your habits – good and bad – is a good thing to do.






7 thoughts on “Staying in Bed Isn’t Good for My Mental Health

  1. AnxiousAmy May 9, 2019 / 12:19 pm

    I have found that getting enough sleep, but as you mention, not oversleeping or staying in bed too long significantly helps my anxiety.

    I meditate before bed. I have an app with guided meditations specifically for sleep, and they help me fall asleep so much quicker. I listen to them probably 13 out of every 14 days? I am pretty regimented in this way. Of course, it’s easy for me to do this because I don’t have a partner that they would interrupt, so I just listen to them as I fall asleep.


    • Nathan Smith May 10, 2019 / 10:06 am

      I have tried meditation before bed and it’s definitely helped – I wish I could get on a regiment like you seem to be! Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • AnxiousAmy May 15, 2019 / 4:43 pm

        I find for me routines are also quite comforting to my anxiety, and having that routine seems to help me stay on course with my meditation too. I meditate when I wake up and before bed. It’s as natural to me now as brushing my teeth or taking a shower.


  2. seaofwordsx May 10, 2019 / 7:55 am

    This is so useful! I also stay at bed a lot not only sleeping but just relaxing and watching series. Then the mind associate the bed with doing and not only sleeping. I have difficulties to sleep at night. My routine is bad. I also can’t wake up early. It’s pretty a mess and hopefully one day I can change it. Very good post!


    • Nathan Smith May 10, 2019 / 10:07 am

      You’re totally right, I began to see the problem when I stopped associating my bed with sleep only. My routine is also so bad so don’t feel like you’re alone in the struggle 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Johnzelle May 10, 2019 / 12:50 pm

    Great post. I try my best to only use my bed for sleep as doing work or other tasks there makes it harder to shut down and relax there. I look forward to future posts 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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