A woman sitting on her bed holding a pen, with her laptop in front of her, balancing a notebook on her knees.
Credit: Krzysztof Maksimiuk via Unsplash

Is studying in bed really such a nightmare?

By Claire Thomson

Sports Editor Claire Thomson takes a look at the battle between comfort versus productivity.

Last year, online university forced us to spend much more time studying in our bedrooms than we normally would, with many of us taking it one step further, and actually studying in our beds. Tell that to anyone and you’re met with a tut and shake of the head. Study after study lectures us on why we shouldn’t study in bed and how harmful it can be for our health, but is there really anything wrong with seeking some warmth and comfort whilst writing an essay or doing some further reading?

“…but is there really anything wrong with seeking some warmth and comfort whilst writing an essay?”

If you’ve ever lived in a Glasgow tenement flat, you’ll know that those places are freezing cold all year round, not just in winter, and heating them properly is far too expensive for a student budget. My flatmates can vouch for the fact that last year, we would wake up some mornings to find the thermostat reading a chilly 14 degrees. We would be sitting at our desks with blankets, hot water bottles and several jumpers on, all in an attempt to preserve heat whilst being productive. Unsurprisingly, it’s very challenging, both physically and mentally, to get stuff done when you’re constantly shivering and all you want to do is curl up in bed to be warm again. On many occasions I could feel myself going numb, so I swiftly moved over to the warmth of my bed. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you can feel your hands again. Granted, it’s not the ideal solution to the problem, but it’s definitely the easiest and most practical. One of the arguments against studying in bed is the bad posture and lack of back support, therefore when you’re fed up with freezing and do take the dive into your duvet, ensure you have a pillow behind your back and your posture is as good as it can be under the circumstances.

Supposedly, studying in bed limits focus as you associate your bed with switching off and going to sleep, and there are far too many distractions that will affect performance. Firstly, what difference are distractions going to make whether they’re at your desk or at your bed? If you want to procrastinate, you’ll find a way no matter your location. As for focus, in your bed you are more relaxed, there is less pressure compared to sitting at a desk, a place that is subconsciously associated with stress and deadlines, and you can let your brain flow with ease. I have written many essays, articles and study notes from my bed, and honestly a lot of the time I prefer it. Performance-wise, for me anyway, there’s absolutely no difference from work I’ve done in bed, to work I’ve done from my desk, if anything it’s more time-efficient as I get it done quicker with an equal or better result. So, now we’re weighing it up, it’s comfort and saving money against productivity, focus and health.

Yes, it’s very important to have somewhere to switch off from academics and properly relax, so a good balance of study locations would be ideal, but providing you follow the same steps to studying at a desk, in my opinion, short-term it’s really not all that bad. No matter where you work, it’s important to take regular breaks, stretch and hydrate properly whilst studying, but just like studying itself, it’s all down to personal preference. Most of the time, money-saving equals a happy student, but in winter, don’t freeze yourself and always study in bed for that extra penny, it’s not worth it.


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