At first thought, making your bed seems like a huge a waste of time. After all, is there really a point in arranging all those sheets, blankets, and pillows every morning if you’re just going to undo the whole thing at night?
Actually, yeah. And it goes beyond just making your room look a little cleaner.
Sure, making your bed every morning might seem like the kind of thing reserved for obsessive neat freaks or Martha Stewart-type domestic goddesses. But believe it or not, tidying up your sleep area can have a major impact on your well-being, your sleep quality, and even your health.
Here’s why making your bed matters.
We’ve all had those mornings when getting up feels almost impossible. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Or you got into a huge fight with your partner. Or you’re dreading starting that project at work. Or the weather outside is terrible and you just aren’t in the mood to deal with real life.
Full disclosure: Making your bed won’t actually make any of those problems go away. But it does make you feel like you accomplished something. And that there’s some tiny part of your life that you actually do have some semblance of control over.
But doesn’t making your bed just steal from your already limited amount of time and energy? As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite. When you tackle one to-do on your list, it suddenly becomes significantly easier to get the next thing done, too.
In other words, bed-making actually puts you in a more productive state of mind that gives you a little bit more fuel—not less. Kind of like exercising or eating right.
And plenty of majorly productive people agree. When Navy SEAL Admiral William McRaven gave the keynote speech at the University of Texas at Austin’s 2014 commencement ceremony, he didn’t start off by telling graduates to work really hard or to remember that life doesn’t always turn out how you expect.
Instead, he advised them to make their beds. “It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed,” he said.
It will give you a small sense of pride. And it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.
Of course, the pro bed-making mindset isn’t exclusive to the military. Surveys suggest that while only around a quarter of adults actually make their bed on a daily basis, those who do are more likely to consider themselves happy compared to non bed-makers.
They might even sleep better, too. Bed-makers are also more likely to enjoy their jobs and exercise regularly—both of which are important for keeping stress in check and ultimately achieving more satisfying snooze time.
And when you’re more well-rested, you’ll have more energy to get more stuff done the next day—like making your bed again. (You’ll also be less inclined to hit the snooze button, so you actually have time to rearrange your blankets before heading off to work.)
In other words, arranging those sheets before heading out the door in the morning pretty much throws you into a cycle of positivity and productivity. And it takes about two minutes of your time.
What could possibly be the down side?
But what about that thing that says making your bed is unhealthy?
Wait, but didn’t I hear some weird thing about how making your bed is actually bad for you? It’s true that one 2006 study published in the journal Experimental & Applied Acarology did find that making your bed seems to create a cozier environment for dust mites.
The theory is that making your bed creates a slightly warmer, more moist environment for the hoards of microscopic bugs that live on your mattress and sheets and feast on your dead skin cells. Leaving your bed unmade exposes the sheets to more fresh air and light, which could kill more of the mites.
But here’s the thing. The average bed is home to some 1.5 million dust mites. And if you think something as gentle as a little bit of fresh sunlight is going to magically kill them all, you’re sorely mistaken. Mother Nature isn’t that powerful.
For now, there’s no research weighing the psychological benefits of making your bed against the hygienic benefits of leaving your sheets rumpled. But considering the fact that we’re surrounded by microscopic bugs all the time and are doing just fine, it seems unlikely that leaving your bed unmade will have any kind of measurable positive impact on your health.
Unless you have debilitating allergies, most experts agree that you’ll be able to keep the bugs in check by washing your sheets every week or two. Which, when you’re reaping all the productivity benefits of making your bed every morning, might actually start to feel like less of an impossible chore than it used to.
Has making the bed had a positive impact on your productivity? We are always here to chat.