Food Does Not Belong in Your Bed

Movies and TV make breakfast in bed look cute, but in reality, it's anything but.

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woman having breakfast in bed
Those sheets are about to be a disaster
Photo: Africa Studio (Shutterstock)

Eating in bed is fuckin’ gross. In movies and pop culture it’s framed as cute and endearing: a bouncy kid brings Mom a tray of misshapen pancakes, slightly burnt bacon, and a mug of hot coffee. In reality, it’s the fastest way to shatter the sanctuary of the place where you sleep and relax. Does anyone actually enjoy it, or is it a “tradition” that only hangs around as a TV trope?

It’s messy

Seriously, anyone who enjoys breakfast in bed must like getting gritty meal detritus in their sheets. Have you ever laid down on crumbs? It’s somehow even worse than it sounds. If you don’t believe me, try eating one of those Nature Valley granola bars (you know, the kind that explodes into a million pieces after you take your first bite) anywhere near your bed. Then roll around in the sheets and see how it feels. Oh yeah, and if you spill any liquid other than water, it’s game over. Your mattress will smell like that beverage forever.

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It’s unsanitary

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the conceptual appeal. Why get up to go eat in, you know, that room in your home entirely dedicated to eating if you can avoid it? You can cozy up and eat in the warm space you occupied all night, one full of microscopic dead skin flakes, hair, lint, sweat and, uh, other fluids, along with that weird syrup that leaks out of your head and turns your pillowcases yellow.

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It’s too immediate

It takes a little bit of time after I wake up before I want to eat anything. Assault me with food the moment I open my eyes and I’ll probably stare at you all confused (and ask you who you are and how you got in my bedroom while I was sleeping). I don’t get hungry until I get going for the day, and the idea of food immediately upon waking up is weirdly repulsive to me. I let my stomach wake up before I fill it. Aren’t most of us this way?

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Mother’s Day is coming up, and that makes me wonder if there are a lot of moms out there who will soon be greeted at 6 a.m. by shouting kids spilling a steady trail of orange juice on the carpet behind them. Cleaning up stains right after hopping out of bed sounds real fun to me. How about you? Best way to start your day.

It’s hazardous

Eating food while perched on the bed ensures that our cats will come at me, snatching any precious human food they can. This results in me shouting at the top of my lungs. They’re already little monsters; I don’t need to make their crime of stealing our food any easier for them.

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There are, of course, cases in which you don’t have a choice. You’re sick, or hungover, or recovering from something, or otherwise immobilizedI totally get it. I’ve been there too. In those cases, eating in bed is a necessity, but even then, I tend to stick to the bare minimum, like meal replacement shakes sipped through a straw. If I’m having trouble getting out of bed, I’m probably not in the mood to eat much, anyway. If you’re really laid up for a while, taking meals in bed will require sheets to be washed a lot more frequently. 

Eating in bed is gross mainly because eating isn’t what bed is for. I’m also someone who avoids using devices like my phone or laptop in bed, and I don’t watch TV in bed either. I do my best to make bed a place for rest, so I mentally condition myself to relax once I’m in it—I have enough problems sleeping anyway. Professionals call good sleeping habits “sleep hygiene,” but keeping your food out of bed is actual hygiene, too. No good can come of snacking there, no matter how you cut it.

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I am sure plenty of you do like eating in bed, but you’re going to have to do your best to convince me that it’s not gross. Come at me. Tell me why I’m wrong. Because I’m not.