With 2024 around the corner, it's time to start thinking about how we can be healthier and happier in the New Year. Or, at least, what social media health hacks we can follow. If you're an avid TikTok user, you might be taking a moment to ponder the horror movie experiences, er, I mean wellness trends that dominated your FYP this year. Bed rotting for good sleep? I'll stick with my best mattress, thanks.
Protein Works has analyzed the data and what it has found is pretty horrifying – at least in name. Bed rotting and mouth tape might sound like torture methods (and we won't get started on lab grown meat and slow walking – zombie apocalypse, anyone?), but these are the wellness hacks that had TikTok users engaged this year. However, it begs the question: are these trends worth following?
The answer is probably not. A review by Protein Works found only 43 per cent of TikTok users creating sleep, gut health, and illness content had relevant qualifications. And although that does eclipse the mere two per cent of qualified creators speaking on nutrition, mental health, and fitness, it's still not a particularly encouraging figure. So before you start taping your mouth shut, let's take a look at the wellness trends that dominated 2023, whether they're worth trying, and what's expected to rule the reels in 2024.
Bed rotting: self-care or past its sell-by?
It might bring to mind your dorm room mattress, but bed rotting was actually the biggest wellness trend of the year on TikTok, with the term garnering over 52 million views. What is it exactly? Intended to combat burnout, bed rotting is the practice of spending hours at a time lying in bed while watching TV, scrolling through your phone, and essentially doing nothing at all.
But although bed rotting might sound appealing (once you get past the name, that is), if you want to combat that sluggish feeling that often results from overworking, this is not the way to go about it. In fact, bed rotting might be making you feel worse.
Most experts agree that, you should mostly be using your bed for sleeping, so your brain associates it as a place for sleep (rather than Netflix, or whatever). Hanging out doing all kinds of activities in bed can make it harder for you to drop off when it does come to sleep time.
“I would generally discourage extended bed rest without medical necessity," explains Kyle Crowley, nutrition expert at Protein Works. "[I]t can encourage fatigue and isolation, as well as interfering with regular sleeping patterns.”
Instead of bed rotting in 2024, a relaxing wind down routine can help you sleep better and feel more refreshed in the morning. Limiting screen time at night, a soothing bath, and a consistent sleep routine can all help you wake up without feeling tired.
Mouth tape sticks around for 2024
Mouth tape and sleep tape were the seventh and eighth biggest wellness trends on TikTok this year, and this unusual practice looks set for a 2024 resurgence. Mouth taping is a pretty simple concept: by covering your mouth with tape overnight, a sleeper is forced to breathe through their nose. Fans of mouth breathing claim this can induce better, healthier sleep, and reduce snoring.
However, there is very little scientific evidence to support mouth taping. A 2009 study found mouth taping had no benefit for people with asthma, and while research from 2015 indicated sleep tape can potentially reduce snoring, a study from 2023 showed that even taping it closed might not stop you breathing through your mouth.
If you are curious about mouth taping, speak to your doctor before sealing your mouth shut. For a slightly less terrifying snoring solution, consider trying a better sleep position – a stacked side sleeping posture can limit snoring, and you won't worry you've woken up in Stephen King's Misery.
Is mushroom coffee the espresso of the future?
And now, a look to the future. Mushroom coffee was a fast-rising trend in 2023, and it looks like it will dominate your FYP in 2024. This one isn’t quite as horrifying as it sounds. It’s not about creating a Shiitake latte or a Cremini cappuccino – this trend adds powdered medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga to your morning brew in an attempt to increase energy levels.
Does it work? Although there's plenty of anecdotal evidence (and medicinal mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for millennia), the scientific evidence isn't really there. There are foods that can help you sleep and wake up, but a mushroom coffee probably won't be a better start to the day than your regular flat white.
Perhaps the biggest TikTok trend of 2024 should be vetting your sources before trying out the latest wellness hack? While there is good information on TikTok, there are also plenty of less trustworthy sources sharing bad advice, so either do the research or take what you read with a pinch of salt (not a scoop of mushroom powder).
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Ruth is TechRadar’s Sleep Writer. She’s here to help you find the perfect sleep setup for your budget and personal preferences. As well as keeping a keen eye on everything that’s going on in the world of mattresses, she regularly speaks to experts to help you learn how to improve your sleep habits, whether that’s by debunking sleep myths or explaining the science behind it all. Prior to joining the TechRadar team, she wrote features and product guides for new parents hoping to get a decent night's sleep, as well as writing for a variety of online spaces.