In bed all day

Dear Rachel,

I’m not sure why I have been feeling so down lately, but I find that I just want to sleep all day and don’t feel like doing anything productive. It is not as if I suffered some major tragedy, so there is really no reason for me to feel like this, but I guess I am just stuck in a rut and I don’t know what to do about it. Every day seems like a repeat of the day before. Any suggestions?

Depressed
Los Angeles

Dear Depressed,

Our emotional well being is actually very similar to our physical well being. For example, the more we eat, the more our stomachs stretch, and therefore the more we need to eat the next time to feel full. So one can say over and over again how she would like to lose weight, yet if she continues to stuff herself at a meal, she will only be hungrier at the next.

What I am trying to say is that it is specifically your behavior that is keeping you in your state of depression. While it might not have been what initially caused you to feel down, it is certainly what is preventing you from getting out of your rut.

Chassidic philosophy teaches us that the word in Hebrew for depression, atzvut, is etymologically related to the Hebrew word for laziness, atzlut. This shows us that the less we do, the more depressed we are going to feel. The reason for this is that we were created in this world to do, to act, to move. If we become stagnant, we are working against our nature, we cannot feel that we are fulfilled and we will therefore become depressed. Being alive means that we need to constantly be productive, that we need to constantly grow. When we stop, when our day becomes a repetition of the one before, when our life becomes a straight line rather than a lot of ups and downs, it means we have flatlined. We may not be physically dead, but we are emotionally and spiritually dead.

So now the question is how can you get out of wherever you are stuck. Clearly, it would mean that you need to start doing things, becoming active. But contrary to popular belief, it is usually not by finding something you enjoy doing and just doing it. While sometimes that may help, that may work, the focus is still on you and completely on you. And if you are the only one who stands to gain and the only one to motivate yourself, you may choose that what you really feel like doing is staying in bed all day and not going out.

Rather, the best way to get your mind off of yourself and your depression is to focus on someone else, and ideally on someone else who you feel is in a worse situation than yourself. Try to do some volunteer work. Try to spend some time at the local hospital visiting children or at an old age home with the elderly. You will find that by helping another you will end up gaining more than you give. If you focus on making another person happy, you will not be able to focus on how miserable and stuck you feel. And when you succeed in making the other happy, meaning that you have changed someone else’s day, made an impact, a change, you will realize and recognize that today is not the same as yesterday, and that tomorrow has even greater potential than today.

I wish you much luck in getting out of your current state of mind, and being able to help others and thus truly being able to help yourself!

Rachel

P.S.: It is important to clarify that the above response is dealing with a case of the blues, not a situation of severe depression that could require medical or psychological treatment. If one finds oneself ever in a situation where the depression is increasing, suggestions such as the above do not seem to help, or one has thoughts or feelings to hurt oneself or others, one must seek immediate professional help. Depression is a serious mental illness and must be treated as such.

26 ‘Habits’ of People With Depression

While depression can be in some ways the absence of action, there are still little habits, little routines, a person may pick up on when they re-enter a depressive episode. These habits can be small indicators you’re beginning to feel depressed again. They can even be positive things — habits developed to help you survive. And because depression affects everyone differently, these little habits are different for everyone, too.

To find out what habits people developed when they were experiencing depression, we asked our mental health community to share one thing they do when they’re depressed.

Here’s what they told us:

1. “I turn into a hermit. I just want to stay in my home and not go anywhere or see anyone. It’s my safe haven, and I just don’t want to leave it.” — Deanne R.

2. “Avoid everything. I ignore my phone, skip appointments or plans, don’t leave my house, stop paying bills, try to avoid talking to anyone. I’ve totally screwed up my life this way –failed classes in college because I couldn’t leave my room.” — Sarah S.

3. “I pretend I’m tired and napping or sleeping so I can avoid people, but really I stay up all night with the thoughts in my head (or if I do sleep, I have nightmares). I barely eat but only eat empty calories and drink a lot more. I try to distract myself with empty crap like TV shows, social media or games just to avoid having to think about anything real.” — Sarah S.

4. “I wouldn’t say there are any habits involved other than obsessively trying to figure out why I’m in such agony, how long it will last and what the hell I’m going to do with myself to keep sane in the meantime while having no energy.” — Jennifer S.

5. “I not only isolate myself, but I let the voice in my head run rampant that tries to tell me I am not loved, life has no meaning and there are no reasons to try. I have dubbed this voice ‘The Glorp’ and try to personify it. I tell it to shut up every once and awhile.” — Sarah C.

6. “I just sit on one end of the sofa and watch TV. Favorite shows or series or random stuff. I can’t even get myself up to eat, shower or go to sleep. I can spend countless hours on that sofa, desperately trying to get some sort of strength from stories about other people’s lives, imaginary or not.” — Laura G.

7. “I sleep too much. And I drop every hobby I enjoy. I go home and lay on the sofa until someone feeds me. Then I lie there until I can drag myself to bed.” — Alexandra K.

8. “I write poetry and little story books for kids… I base stories off the happy times so the depression doesn’t take over.” — Amanda T.

9. “It’s less of what I do and more of what I don’t do. Usually I fight extreme insomnia, I work, I workout, I play with my dogs. When an severe major depressive episode creeps over me, I can’t do any of those things. I go from not sleeping to sleeping all the time. I shower maybe once a week. I avoid my friends, family, spouse, work, and anything that requires more effort than pulling the comforter back up over my shoulders. When I am awake I’m on Facebook or staring at the wall until I’m asleep again. I’m barely eating, barely talking to anyone and barley holding on.” — Melina A.

10. “I stay up all night to watch series or pull hair. I have trichotillomania. I can’t sleep until I’m exhausted. I eat less and feel tired all day, ‘forget’ to take a shower, pull more hair. If I absolutely have to go out I hide under a cap and hood.” — Elenor H.

11. “At its worst, I will sit in the shower for hours, numb, in the dark, even after the water has gone ice cold. When I finally do manage to get out, it’s sweats and being wrapped up in a big comforter, usually staring into space until I come around. Sometimes I can do this several times a day/night.” — Leslie G.

12. “Food tastes like cardboard. I start to eat less. Sometimes I would rather let my stomach growl for hours than get up and make something. Sometimes I drink a lot of liquids to stave off the hunger because I can’t bring myself to make something. Sometimes I use sleep the same way.” — Christal S.

13. “I have multiple chronic illnesses, so I see many different doctors. When I’m going through a depression, I tend to cancel all my appointments. I just don’t have the energy, nor do I care about my health when depressed.” — Meg G.

14. “I will completely isolate myself from everyone and everything. I also pick at myself until I’ve either left marks and scars. It’s a habit I struggle to control.” — Michelle S.

15. “I run. I’ve been a runner for years now, and how I run really reflects my mental state. Some days just getting up and doing a mile or two is enough for me to feel like I accomplished something…. staying active and releasing those endorphins really helps when I know I’m in a depressive cycle (bipolar).” — Steven W.

16. “I hide. I pull away from my friends and family, stop answering texts and phone calls. I don’t go out and do fun things with them. I do school, work and home, talking as little as possible but still smiling for everyone else. If anyone asks, I’m always just tired. I don’t specify why I’m tired or what I’m tired of. ” — Paige L.

17. “I procrastinate beyond logic. From doing chores, brushing teeth, bathing or even changing my clothes… I procrastinate everything that is on hand, no matter how dire the need… I just lie down and toy around with this phone.” — Shivani A.

18. “My taste in music changes when I’m having a significant struggle with depression. As a teenager my mom could always tell how I felt by the music I was listening to. Turns out, music is also a powerful tool in helping me out of the pit of depression as well.” — Desiree N.

19. “I have days when I can’t ‘people.’ I can still get around just as long as I don’t have to interact with humans. I can put my headphones on and still appear to be functioning when I’m actually not, just as long as I don’t have to speak to anyone or make eye contact.” — Gillian W.

20. “I get into the habit of taking long multiple showers every day, up to three when I’m bad. The sound of the water is relaxing and helps me chill and find balance. The sound also gives me something relaxing to concentrate on.” — Leanne M.

21. “I clean everything. It’s a distraction and when I have something to focus on, I’m less likely to be caught up in my negative thoughts.” — Rachel M.

22. “I buy food and stop cooking at home because I don’t have enough energy. But, it makes my mood worse because my brain criticizes my excessive spending and eating of unhealthy foods.” — Joy L.

23. “I tend to push people away. But I do it so hatefully that half the time people believe I am angry at them instead of depressed. It makes it very hard to have my spouses/friends/family help me when all I do is ask to be left alone.” — Miranda E.

24. “Eating nothing but cereal. I don’t have the energy to make anything else. And when I do eat something with actual substance, I binge on it.” — Jamie H.

25. “Sugar, sugar, sugar…” — Noel R.

26. “I’m rather snuggly. I’m very grounded by contact. I’ll randomly hug friends or family members, or snuggle with my rabbit, and if there’s a baby around I’ll hold it for as long as I can. There’s just something about the warmth of another living thing nearby that is calming and peaceful.” – Mikayla A.

What would you add?

10 Tips For When Depression Barely Lets You Out Of Bed

If you deal with depression, you know that it can manifest itself in many different ways. In my experience, there are days when I’m able to function well, with just an undertone of apathy toward everything. Occasionally there are days when I break down, with a deep sadness washing over me.

And some days, I’m numb. My mind is filled with a sort of fog, and it feels almost as if there’s a heavy, wet blanket over my body. I can’t think clearly and I don’t have the energy to force myself to get up and go about my day. Not only am I unable to do the main tasks I had planned, but even the little things, like throwing together a meal or reading an article, are difficult.

On days like that, it feels like the only thing I can do is lie in bed and stare into nothingness. Inevitably, I’ll reach for my laptop and browse the internet out of boredom. But my low attention span will cause me to move from Facebook to Tumblr to YouTube, not really focusing on or taking an interest in anything.

I hate everyone on Facebook.

I can’t concentrate enough to read fanfiction right now.

This video is pointless.

To make an already unpleasant day worse, I tend to become frustrated and angry at myself for being depressed.

If only my brain and body weren’t like this, I’d actually be able to get things done. Maybe I’d actually be happy.

But I’ve come to realize that this is one of the worst things I can do. Getting upset and blaming myself only adds more pain to the situation. It’s better to acknowledge that I’m not at fault for feeling the way I am and look for little ways I can help myself get through the day.

Here are 10 things I do to get through days when I can barely get out of bed.

1. Eat something healthy, like fruit.

When I’m depressed, I usually don’t have the motivation to cook anything, or even to reheat leftovers. So I usually go for the least healthy and most readily available junk food I have. But if I reach for some fruit, all I have to do is wash it before eating it. Even if I take this piece of advice only once during the course of the day (because let’s be real, depression makes you crave comfort food), it’s better than eating nothing of nutritional value at all.

2. Shower and put on clean clothes.

To some extent, our physical state always has an impact on our emotional state. When I’m depressed, it’s hard to get up and shower. But I find that the longer I lie in bed feeling gross and sweaty, the worse I feel emotionally. I’ve realized that if there’s one thing to channel what little energy I have into, it’s showering. Besides improving my mood by making me fresh and clean, it can also help clear my head a little.

3. Reach out to someone.

When I realize it’s going to be one of ‘those’ days, I always text a friend or family member. Sometimes all I want to say is hi, and sometimes I let them know that I’m not feeling well. Either way, a bit of human interaction and remembering there are people who care about me makes me feel a little better.

4. Let some light into the room.

When I’m in this state, it’s tempting to burrow under the covers, close my bedroom door, and pull the shades down. But just opening my curtains a little and letting some light in goes a long way to improve my mood. The light might be annoying at first, but once I let my eyes and brain adjust, I find that I’m more awake and alert.

5. Interact with my pet. (And don’t forget to feed her!)

It might be difficult to do most things, but simply petting my cat is easy and soothing. Sharing love with her helps me smile when I don’t necessarily want to.

6. Try putting on some soft music.

Calming music helps fill the silence and makes me feel less alone.

7. Write my feelings out.

On days like this, I mainly feel numb. But I usually have feelings that form around that. For example, sometimes I feel frustrated or angry or sad about being numb and depressed. Filling up a blank page with anything that comes to mind is a great way to vent and pinpoint exactly what my emotions are. (I’m actually writing this article while having one of these days. I started many different drafts about different topics for this article, but ultimately I was unable to write about anything besides depression.)

8. Let myself lie down.

In the past, one of the biggest ways I made myself feel more miserable than I needed to, besides getting frustrated at myself, was forcing myself to sit at my desk. When I’m depressed, it’s sometimes hard to hold my body up, and all I want to do is lie down. I need to curl up with a soft, warm blanket, and just rest. I’ve learned not to deny myself this. It’s better to make things as painless as possible.

9. Put on a favorite TV show or movie.

It’s perfectly acceptable to sit back and watch something when you’re depressed. In fact, it’s a big chunk of what I do during days like these. As long as I’ve taken care of my basic needs and done some of the other things on this list, there’s no reason to feel guilty for passing the time with a show, movie, or even some YouTube videos. I prefer to watch things that I’m familiar with and that I love. This is because I don’t need much brain power to understand and enjoy things I’ve already seen. It also guarantees that what I’m watching will help me feel better.

10. Validate myself.

This is one of the most important things on this list. I’ve come to the conclusion that when all is said and done, it’s important to give myself praise for getting through the day. I try to tell myself I’m proud of how I handled the situation, and that I’m glad I ate something healthy and got myself to shower. I thank myself for taking care of myself. This helps me continue to believe in my ability to get through my depression.

I hope something on this list helps you, too.

Wierd urge to shave my head

I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, but have responded well to my anti-depressants and so, have been feeling ‘better’ since this summer. Recently however, something strange has been happening. I’ve got this weird urge to just shave my head. I’m wondering if it has something to do with my depression?
This time last year, my depression was at its worst, meaning I barely got out of bed and didn’t shower once for almost 3 months. Because of this, my hair (which is really long for a guy) became extremely matted. I eventually managed to brush out the matts after about 3 days of intense treatment, with help of a barber friend.
Recently, I’ve made great strides, started university again, and have had a great autumn and Christmas, with loads of new friends. However, I think my hair has always served as a reminder of my past in a weird way. Last week, an old friend shaved his head due to him balding, and I feel as though it has sparked something in me…. I all of a sudden feel disgusted with my hair, as it reminds me of what it used to be like. I feel this weird urge to just shave my head bald, and just get rid of it…. I guess my subconscious is trying to get closure, by removing the last visible reminder of my depression?
I also think I may have had some symptoms of body dysmorphia in the past, often revolving around my looks and hair, and I guess this could actually be a way that I am unknowingly, trying to ‘free’ myself from the ‘chains’ that used to hold me back in life… if that makes any sense?
However, I’m worried this will not be socially acceptable, as I am only 19 years old, and have a full head of hair, that is long enough for a man-bun, so returning to uni with a bald head when I get back next week will cause quite the shock, and when people stare at me or give me too much attention, I often get anxiety attacks. I’m also concerned of my families reaction. Basically I have a deep fear of ridicule, something that has took a toll on me all my life.
I’m also scared that it is actually a symptom of worsening mental health, as I have read it can be an early sign of schizophrenia, however, really don’t think I have any form of psychosis.
I have talked to a very close friend about this, and he said to jut buzz it or cut it really short, as this will be more acceptable for my age etc.. however, I fell this is kind of defeating the purpose, as I don’t think this will really provide closure becuase I will still have visible hair, therefore reminding me of my struggle, and I need it to be all completely gone. When I told him this, he basically told me I was ‘insane’, which I’m worried I am in all honesty (Well not insane which is pretty offensive… but mentally ill). He also said that I would look awful with no hair, as I have a big head and that people view bald people as kind of gross. This really did nothing for my self esteem….
Basically, I’m posting this to get advice on the issue, should I just go for it and view it as a liberating experience symbolising me embarking on a new life, or do you think this is a sign of a more serious issue?? I guess I’m also just venting… which is good… right?
Anyway, I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts, as I feel I need an unbiased outside opinion. Thanks, and sorry for the rambling.

Every now and then, a haircut is so much more than routine grooming.

People recovering from trauma—the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or our own failing health—will often cope, in part, by changing their appearance. Sometimes, it’ll be subtle, like a new bob or a little retail therapy. But other times, people will feel the need to drastically change their look by doing things like dyeing their hair fuschia or shaving it off entirely.

It’s completely normal to want to superficially change your appearance. “You can consider it a form of self care,” says Christy Beck, a therapist based in State College, Pennsylvania. “You’re doing something for yourself to make yourself feel better.”

After some kind of major stressor, it can be helpful to give yourself some kind of pick-me-up. Although this doesn’t need to be an outward makeover, haircuts, a new wardrobe, or a new piercing or tattoo, can all be investments in ourselves, a way to make ourselves feel better. Stressors tend to emotionally stop us in our tracks; they channel the energy we’d normally expend on our work, hobbies, or chores, into trying to alleviate some immediate pain. Giving ourselves some TLC can be one way to jumpstart our moods to start moving past whatever upset us.

“Depending on the degree of the trauma, just the self-care is all that’s needed,” says Beck. We may be able to get through moderate stressors, like a breakup or setback at work, by spending some time alone, going out with friends, or treating ourselves to a new look.

But other times, physical changes only serve as a bandaid for a much deeper wound. “For a lot of people it’s a quicker fix. It’s easier to change something that you can do immediately because the other stuff can take longer,” says Beck. Our appearance can serve as an armor of denial when we’re feeling particularly hurt or vulnerable.

In these cases, residual effects of trauma may resurface again and again. Beck says she’s seen several patients who come in for one reason, like an unhealthy pattern in their relationships, and realize that the underlying cause is some kind of suppressed trauma that needs to be dealt with. These patients may have tried to force themselves through a difficult period—perhaps with quick, physical change—but were never able to resolve the tension it caused them on their own.

As one 2013 study points out (paywall) sometimes these patterns of drastic change—especially if they seem extremely out of character—can indirectly alert others that a person is suffering in a major way. When pop star Britney Spears shaved her head 10 years ago, it turned out to be part of a mental breakdown that ultimately led to an involuntary commitment to a stay in a psychiatric ward. Additionally, it’s common for survivors of sexual assault or abuse to develop eating disorders (pdf) as they try cope with the shame they feel about their bodies.

That said, noting these changes can trigger a more meaningful recovery because they actually acknowledge that a person has undergone an extremely difficult event. One of my colleagues, Corinne Purtill, suffered a severe illness a few years ago that kept her in the intensive care unit at a hospital for over a week, and then in recovery at home for months. Although for the most part her health slowly improved, chunks of her hair fell out—which is normal after intense, physical stress.

As she recovered, she tried to take care of herself the way she did before getting sick—particularly with regard to her hair. One day, a friend (who has a chronic illness) kindly suggested it was time she realized it just looked plain old bad. “You’re trying to keep it the way it used to be, but you aren’t that person anymore,” Corinne recalls her friend saying. “Until you change it, every time you look in the mirror you are going to see your illness.”

So, the next day Corinne got a more flattering haircut which, in part, acknowledged that she was physically different. Her illness changed her body in a way she couldn’t control; this time, Corinne was able to control the change herself. “I think with post-trauma makeovers, some changes are necessary to compensate for physical changes—scars, body-shape change, hair loss, etc.—and others for emotional change,” Corinne says.

To be sure, a drastic haircut isn’t a necessary part of recovering from something, and just because someone gets a tattoo or nose ring it doesn’t mean she’s going through anything particularly difficult. Sometimes, we just get bored with our reflections.

However, if you do decide to update your look in response to a breakup or death in the family, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily putting off coping with deeper issues. It all depends on how you continue to feel afterward. If you’re not at least starting to feel better after a month or so, Beck says, maybe there’s something deeper going on.

According to a new study by TYME in conjunction with YouGov, 20 per cent of the 680 U.S. women surveyed reported to have cried over a haircut they didn’t like while 1 in 6 women said they would be embarrassed to go out in public if there’s something wrong with their hair.

Newman believes that our understanding and standards of beauty often shape how we think and approach hair. “Our hair can help make us feel better about ourselves, but it doesn’t inherently hold any magical power,” she says. The re-invention of our physical selves can create a false sense of control. While we might feel like we’re in the driver’s seat of whatever is happening, it’s important to recognize that though we can influence certain circumstances in our lives, the only thing we can really manage is our emotions and reactions. In times of distress, we may seek different means of escape, such as a major haircut, instead of recognizing how making a drastic, and possibly regrettable, change to our appearance will only give us a fleeting sense of agency, argues Newman.

To determine whether an extreme haircut is a healthy way of coping, Newman suggests asking yourself if you are making the decision from an empowered place, a place of fear, or trying to use it as a synthetic means of internal change. “If a person has been quietly looking at hairstyles in magazines or on Instagram for a while, it might not be such a drastic shift after all,” she says. Beyond this, Benson always recommends that her clients wait until they feel calmer to determine whether a drastic ‘do is something they truly want.

Still, in certain situations, a new hairstyle can be liberating – giving us new style options and ways to present ourselves to the world. With this, Benson recalls a young client who got their head shaved off at age 12 as the first means of claiming and outwardly asserting their identity as transgender. As a hairstylist, she explains the importance of having empathy for all of her clients. “You deal with so many different walks of life who come to your chair with all their baggage,” she says. In this way, when done in the right headspace, haircuts can be a genuine means of self-transformation, and help us become more confident in ourselves.

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The side effects of staying in bed all day include development of bedsores and body aches, especially in the lower back. Lying in bed all day is also associated with an increased risk of stress and depression, and some other psychological and cardiovascular ailments.

There aren’t many people in the world who leave their bed as soon as they hear the alarm (let alone before it!). The idea of lazing around in bed has been around for centuries, but it has gained unprecedented popularity among the masses since the dawn of technological progress. Everything has become so easy that we barely have to leave bed to do anything, and therefore, end up spending even more time lying around indolently.

I must admit that I snooze the alarm more than I should, so much so that I sometimes wish someone would pay me to stay in bed. Well, this dream came true for Drew Iwanicki when he volunteered for a study conducted by NASA.

NASA conducted an experiment to study the effects of laying in bed for days

Back in 2014, NASA conducted a study to determine the nature and magnitude of the deterioration of human bones and muscles in space. The study required Drew Iwanicki (the volunteer) to lay down on a bed for 70 days straight, without getting up for any purpose whatsoever (except for a 30-minute window where he could prop himself up on his elbows to eat!).

Although the study (titled “CFT 70 (Countermeasure and Functional Testing in Head-Down Tilt Bed Rest Study”) earned him a paycheck of $18,000, it was no walk in the park!

The study found that if a person lies down with their legs raised at an angle, more blood would flow to their head, making their face look puffy. These conditions are pretty similar to the experience of space travel. Here is a detailed description by Drew Iwanicki himself about how he felt during and after the study.

However, no person would lie in bed for days unless they are hospitalized or have been paid to do so. We usually enjoy these guilty pleasures only for a few hours. This begs the question… is the habit of lying around in bed for hours at a stretch bad for our health too?

Is it bad to stay in bed all day?

Of course, it is!

Lying down too much can be detrimental to your health (Photo Credit: Piotr Marcinski/)

It is not just this particular position that can be bad for the body, but too much bed rest in any position can be very harmful to the overall well-being of an individual.

You must have noticed that there are only very rare occasions when you lie for more than 6-7 hours without making any kind of movement. You move a little by twitching, turning or shifting your weight during your sleep. If you don’t move at all, you can have pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores. These are caused when, due to a lack of movement, the disruption of blood throughout the skin causes certain regions of the skin to perish.

There are a few different stages of bedsores; if bedsores hit Stage 4, then they can negatively affect bones. In extreme cases, bedsores can even kill people. This is why nurses continually change the position of paralytic patients.

Side effects of laying down way too much

Even if bedsores were not an issue, lying in bed for too long does have other drawbacks or ill-effects. A survey conducted during a 2004 study published in the journal Joint, Bone and Spine found that patients with lower back pain, who were prescribed bed rest by doctors, came back with complaints of chronic pain 32% of the time

While some bed rest can make people suffering from back pain feel better, too much bed rest can prove to be counterproductive. This is because it results in weakening of muscles, including the ones that support the backbone. Surprisingly, people can also develop constipation and other gastrointestinal problems when muscles lose their conditioning and tone.

Moreover, the inactivity associated with staying in bed for long hours increases the risk of damaging the veins (especially those of the pelvis and legs) and developing blood clots. This situation can also lead to a deadly condition called pulmonary embolism in the event that the clot breaks away and enters the lungs.

Our mental health and sense of well-being also take a hit due to being confined to bed. A research that studied the psychological effects of bed rest in people observed a tendency of development of depression and neurosis through Zung’s self-rating depression scale and a General Health Questionnaire.

In another study published in Journal of Applied Physiology in 2008, rats were put in a specific position similar to the one that humans assume during bed rest. It was observed that rats displayed signs of depression and stress after a period of only 2 weeks. Afterwards, they developed more psychological and cardiovascular disorders, thanks to the prolonged period of bed rest to which they were subjected.

Psychological and physical ill-effects of extended periods of bed rest have also been found in pregnant women who were sent to bed due to complications in pregnancies. These effects included depression, anxiety, headache, muscle atrophy and weight loss. (Source)

Not So Bad if Regulated

If taken in correct amounts, bed rest is not all bad. On the contrary, it can be a good thing, especially for those who have suffered from a concussion or some other brain injury, as it helps in restoring the normal activities of the brain.

As it turns out, bed rest is not inherently evil; it only becomes so when it’s not regulated. After all, too much of anything is bad.

Do yourself a favor and don’t laze around in bed unnecessarily for extended periods of time. Get out and see the world!

Also, if you are curious as to why sitting in the same position even for an hour makes you feel uncomfortable but sleeping for a good seven to eight hours doesn’t, we have answered it for you. Check this article out!

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I Lay in Bed All Day

Sara BischofFollow Apr 8, 2019 · 4 min read

More times than not this year, 2019, I spend my entire Saturday laying in bed. Before this year, I would lay in bed all day occasionally because I was exhausted from my week and excited to have some free time without work and commitments to do as I please. And then I would spend that free time laying. I felt guilty for “wasting” my day. Drifting in and out of sleep. Scrolling through Instagram. Watching the snow fall outside or listening to the wind. Seeing the sun set from my bedroom window. Forgetting just for the day what the taste, smell, and feel of fresh air was like. Feeling bad I didn’t go on a walk. Feeling guilty that my room was still a mess and my to-do list was left with nothing crossed off and accomplished. Sometimes surrounded by dishes of what I ate that day. It was always a weird feeling just to lay. In bed. All day.

The next times I stayed in bed all day I was not alone. I would wake up with a little hangover headache from the night before, pop some advil, and drink some water. Without thinking or worrying I would be in bed with a person and before we knew it 7am turned into 12pm. We should get up. We’re hungry. But we don’t want to get up. So we wouldn’t get up. Then we might drift into sleep together. We would talk about wasting our day in bed. But we were happy to not leave. So was it a waste? We joked with our friends at the bar the night before that we would see them the next day. The next day was 4pm. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t left bed. Then a few weeks later, 4pm was 9pm. We literally spent the entire Saturday in bed.

One Saturday I layed in bed all day by accident and it probably was not the best decision. I woke up. I fell back to sleep. I should take advantage of sleeping in I said. I didn’t go to the grocery store or go to the gym or on a walk. I felt sad. I felt weird. I had a long phone conversation. I felt better. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s a weird feeling to not have someplace to be or somewhere to go. Sometimes it still surprises me that where I am at in my life right now I can stay in bed all day. Nothing will happen and no one will care.

Then there’s the times like today where it’s just me in bed again. But I don’t feel like it’s a waste. I wake up. I nap. I watch netflix. I read. I go on my phone. My bed is my haven. My Saturday is my freedom to do and be me. I don’t feel the guilt. I think about all the times I have laid in my bed all day my apple watch charging on the stand next to me with 0% of my rings closed. When it gets warmer I will lay on my hammock. Occasionally, I’ll lay on my couch that I share with my roommate. After work or a long day sometimes I lay on my floor. And sometimes I lay in the back of my car during my lunch break.

This whole idea of laying in bed all day seems lazy. It still might be lazy. It could be considered depressing. Sad. Alone. Whatever label you want. But today my laying feels free. Freedom to not go out in the blustering wind. To wait for spring from the comfort of my house. To watch netflix. To read my book. To look at my phone. To laugh. I am so comfortable and I am so me when I am laying in my bed with no worries or stresses. I think as someone who has had activities planned for nearly every day of the week for all of my high school and college life sometimes I feel like I am catching up. It has been a year and three months since I graduated and sometimes I still feel like I am catching up from the hustle of what used to be my life at school. School and sports and work and homework and a constant to-dos with no room or space or freedom to just lay and do what my mind and body wants to do. To feel a comfortable space. A quiet space. To lay in bed all day.

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You know you’re getting older when staying in bed all day is suddenly a guilt-ridden experience. If you are reading this and thinking, “what is she talking about,” you are probably under the age of 25. Enjoy it while it lasts. While we know it cannot be an everyday occurrence, some instances earn you the right to embody the lyrics of Bruno Mars’ “Lazy Song,” and to not put on pants from sunrise to sunset.

1. When You Are Sick

Sometimes you have to accept defeat. As much as it kills me to waste a day being sick, rest is what will make you get better, quicker. If you are taking a sick day from work, actually take it. Be sick. Stay in bed. Whine. Make your mom bring over her homemade chicken soup. Whatever will make you feel better.

2. After A One Night Stand

Usually a shit ton of alcohol is a prelude to this type of evening. The combination of sex, a new person in your bed or you in an unfamiliar one, and the killer hangover, all desperately call for a day in a bed. You’re lack of sleep will make you seem brain dead anyway, and no one wants to hang out with someone who can’t formulate coherent sentences.

3. After An Earthquake

I’ve only experienced minor earthquakes in my five years living in Los Angeles, but nonetheless, they gave me a bit of a scare. After being awoken by that disorienting shake, you don’t know if aftershocks are on the way. And to be safe, stay in bed as long as you can, to avoid post-earthquake injuries. May I also recommend that you hold in your bladder as long as possible, because a toilet seems like the worst place to be when an aftershock hits.

4. When The Weather Is Complete Shit

As an adult, a snowstorm no longer means building snowmen and catching snowflakes on your tongue. It means bundling up and then a progression of shivering to sweating and back again as you go from inside to out. It means risking your life to get to work, battling the slush and trying not to drive off the road. Stay in bed! And if you live in Los Angeles, if that rare miracle, water from the sky, ever occurs, you are more than welcome to take advantage of the sun not mocking you to wake up and stay in bed!

5. If You Are A Writer Who Can Write In Bed

I have about five minutes in me before my eyes start to close if I ever attempt to bring my laptop into my bed. But, there are some people who actually can work while in bed. I’ve seen many of Mindy Kaling’s Instagram posts of her doing just that. If you’ve got the skills like Kaling to combine comfort and productivity, go for it!

6. If You Haven’t Watched The Latest ‘Buzzed About’ Show

Just to name a few, if you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, or Girls, spend the day in bed binge watching these pop culture musts! You’ll prevent yourself from becoming a social pariah once you get out of bed and enter the world.

7. After You’ve Been Dumped

Give yourself one, just one, day off. The emotional turmoil of a break-up is exhausting. Permission granted to sleep it off. But tomorrow, you must emerge a new, a phoenix rising, rested and ready to charge ahead.

8. The First Day of a Vacation From Work

You could go on a day trip, horseback ride, scuba dive – cross off one of the many activities you wish you could do if you only had more time. But, you’ve also earned the right to be lazy! If you are honest with yourself and the thought of getting up is as painful as sitting in your job’s weekly status meeting, give yourself a break.

A

The short answer is that inactivity is the culprit, whether you are sitting or lying down.

“The mode or type of sedentary behavior doesn’t matter,” said John P. Thyfault, an associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City who has conducted many studies of inactivity.

The problem is that we don’t use our legs when we sit or lie prone. Our legs and backside contain some of the largest muscles in our body, which contract robustly when we are upright. In the process, they use blood sugar to fuel themselves and stimulate the release of biochemicals that favorably affect cholesterol levels and other metabolic processes.

None of that happens when we sit in a chair or lounge in bed. Instead, our big muscles are slack and levels of blood sugar and bad cholesterol rise. In a fascinating 2010 study co-authored by Dr. Thyfault, healthy young men were asked to make themselves sedentary. They could choose their preferred inactivity — driving to work, for instance, instead of walking or reading more in bed or sitting in front of the television for hours — as long as they got off their feet as much as possible.

Within two weeks of being more sedentary, these previously healthy young men had begun to develop metabolic problems, including serious insulin resistance, whether they had spent their inactive time primarily sitting or in bed.

“Lying down will have the same deleterious effects” as sitting, Dr. Thyfault said.

The one exception, of course, is sleep. Our bodies need those eight hours or so of being prone in order to complete various physiological repair processes.

But when we are awake, Dr. Thyfault said, the more we can stand up and move, the better.

How Many Calories Do You Burn While You’re Asleep?

Have you ever wondered how many calories you burn while sleeping? While you may think the answer would be “not many,” you might be surprised to learn that your body is at work using energy even when you’re at rest.

How many calories you burn has to do with various factors, including your weight, your metabolism, and how much sleep you get each night.

Determining how many calories you burn

A person who weighs 125 pounds burns approximately 38 calories per hour sleeping. That doesn’t necessarily sound like a lot. But multiply that by the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep experts say you should get each night, and that’s a total potential of 266 to 342 calories for snoozing.

The amount of calories burned increases according to body weight. So, a person who weighs 150 pounds might burn 46 calories an hour or between 322 and 414 calories a night. And a person who weighs 185 pounds might burn around 56 calories or between 392 and 504 calories for a full night of sleep.

How are these numbers calculated exactly? It’s all about your individual metabolism. Metabolism is a process by which the body converts food into energy for use in daily activities. Even keeping your organs running, breathing, and circulating blood costs your body calories. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), on the other hand, represents the number of calories you individually burn a day at rest, or while you’re sedentary. This includes sleeping and sitting.

To calculate your BMR, you use an equation that factors in your sex, weight, and age using inches for height and pounds for weight.

  • 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age) = BMR for men
  • 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age) = BMR for women

For example: A 35-year-old man who weighs 175 pounds and is 5 feet 11 inches tall would be:

  • 66 + (6.2 x 175) + (12.7 x 71) – (6.76 x 35) = 1,816 calories.

A 35-year-old woman who weighs 135 pounds and is 5 feet, 5 inches tall would be:

  • 655.1 + (4.35 x 135) + (4.7 x 65) – (4.7 x 35) = 1,383 calories.

The more mass your body has, the more calories you’ll burn while resting, sleeping, and doing other activities. Men tend to burn more calories at rest than women of the same weight because men typically have higher muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does.

Factors that affect how many calories you burn

Want to maximize your calorie torching in the overnight hours? A recent study uncovered that if you skip an entire night of sleep, you may actually burn an extra 135 calories over that period of time. Some participants burned as many as an extra 160 calories. But before you toss your pillow, understand that skipping sleep isn’t a great way to lose weight.

Sleep loss over time may contribute to weight gain and obesity. It elevates certain hormone levels in the body, like cortisol. This hormone makes you hold onto extra fat. Not only that, but it may also increase your appetite and lead to a slower metabolism.

What may help you burn more calories during sleep is taking measures to elevate your metabolism. Boosting your metabolism will help you burn more calories throughout your waking hours as well.

What you should know:

Eating late doesn’t slow your metabolism

Eating before bed may cause a temporary increase in your metabolism through what’s called thermogenesis. And don’t worry about eating after 8 pm. Foods consumed after this time don’t magically make your gain more weight — it’s the mindless snacking that does. That said, eating large meals right before bedtime may make it harder to sleep.

Exercise daily, incorporating strength training

Having more muscle mass in general helps you burn more calories, even while you’re sleeping. So get in some exercise daily, especially strength training. If you have trouble settling down at night, try getting in your exercise several hours before bed.

Losing weight may help

Losing weight may help boost your metabolism as well. Fat burns fewer calories than muscle when at rest. If you’re overweight, consider making an appointment with your doctor or dietitian to discuss a healthy goal and a plan for how to get there.

Caffeine may create a short-term boost

Caffeine may increase metabolism slightly. At the same time, it has not been shown to help with long-term weight loss. And drinking caffeinated beverages before bed may make it hard to get a good night’s rest.

Use supplements with caution

Supplements that claim to boost metabolism should be used with caution or not at all. Some may contain unsafe ingredients. Even worse, they may not work. Always discuss any supplements you plan to take with your doctor.

Certain health conditions may slow your metabolism

Certain medical conditions, like Cushing syndrome and hypothyroidism, may slow your metabolism. This means you’ll experience less calorie burn at all hours and may even hold onto or gain weight. You doctor can perform simple tests, like a blood test, to rule out certain conditions. Then they can work with you to manage your condition and weight.

The bottom line

Your body is at work at all hours of the day and night. While you do burn calories while sleeping, it’s not a solid weight loss strategy. Exercising regularly and eating well can help.

Experts recommend getting in 75 minutes of vigorous activity, like running, or 150 minutes of moderate activity, like walking, each week. And try shopping the perimeter of the grocery store to stick to whole foods that don’t contain empty calories, like added sugars.

Try your best to get in the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble winding down, give these tips a try:

  • Create a routine where you go to the bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day. You may also want to do some relaxing activities, like taking a bath or doing some gentle yoga before tucking yourself in.
  • Use white noise, ear plugs, blackout curtains, and other tools to block distractions in your sleeping space. Keeping the temperature of your room cool may also help you nod off faster.
  • Avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine in the hours before bed. They may take a while to wear off and make it hard to relax. While alcohol may make you sleepy, it may also disrupt your sleep throughout the night.
  • Turn off cell phones, computers, televisions, and other electronics well before heading to bed. The light these devices emit may disrupt your body’s natural sleeping rhythm.
  • Limit naps to just 30 minutes. Getting more shut-eye in the daytime hours may make it harder to sleep at night.

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