You probably know all the excuses, and may have used one (or more) yourself:
- “It’s just going to get unmade again tonight.”
- “I don’t have time.”
- “No one is going to see it anyway.”
- “It’s not important.”
- “My mom isn’t here to make me do it.”
- “My cat is curled up in the sheets, and I don’t want to disturb her.”
Excuses are easy, but when it comes right down to it, it's also easy to make your bed each morning. No, you don’t have to turn out a display worthy of Pinterest or Elle Decor—unless you enjoy that sort of thing, in which case have at it. But a quick fluff of the pillows and tug of the sheets and comforter takes only seconds, and it is the easiest way to make your entire bedroom look better instantly. Beyond that, however, there are some surprising benefits to making your bed each day.
It Starts Your Day Off Right
It might be a small accomplishment, but making the bed sets the tone for the entire day. Perhaps no one has extolled this virtue of making the bed each morning as well as Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations. In a 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, Admiral McRaven shared his thoughts on the matter. “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another," he said. "By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
These are powerful words, and you don't have to be able to bounce a coin off your military-style-made bed to benefit from them.
It Encourages You to Keep the Rest of Your Room Tidy
Even the most organized, beautiful bedroom looks less tidy with an unmade bed, and the converse is also true: When the bed is made, it helps the rest of the room look styled, even if it is not perfect. Better still, once you are in the habit of making your bed, you’ll likely feel inspired to improve your bedroom’s appearance in other ways, even if very small. From tiny beginnings, great things grow. Maybe next, you'll tackle the closet.
It Leads to Better Productivity
"Wait a minute," you might be asking, "How is making the bed going to increase my productivity?" A fair question, and you’ll find the answer in the book, “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg. According to the author, daily bed making becomes a keystone habit, something that kickstarts a chain of other good decisions throughout the day, and gives you a sense of taking charge. Duhigg claims that these keystone habits cumulatively lead to "a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget." Pretty impressive results, simply for taking a minute or two to pull up the sheets and comforter.
It Lowers Your Stress and Improves Your Mood
You spend roughly a third of your life in your bedroom, and the appearance of your room has an effect on your mood. It’s hard to feel calm, relaxed, competent and grounded when you are surrounded by disorganization. A properly made bed (no, it doesn’t have to be up to military standards, just neat and unrumpled) instantly makes the entire room look pulled together, creating a subtle vibe of tranquility and competence. A made bed shows that you care about yourself and your home, and that feeling of being cared for helps lift your mood and lighten your emotional burdens.
It even makes you feel happier, according to Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.” During her research for the book, she found that one of the most common simple changes that led to happiness was learning to make the bed each morning. So go for it; what else can do so much to make you happy with so little effort, and in so little time? (Well, there is eating a chocolate bar. But there's no guilt involved with making your bed.)
It Just Looks and Feels Better
Think of walking into a hotel room… the first thing that catches your eye is a neatly made bed that practically begs you to slide between the soft sheets. Now imagine that same hotel room, but with an unmade, rumpled bed. Would you still want to slide between those sheets? Probably not. There’s just something about a made bed that feels better at the end of a long day, partly because it makes the bed look cleaner (even if you actually haven’t changed your sheets in weeks), and partly because when a bed looks good, it also feels good. Few things match the pure pleasure of climbing into a smoothly made bed with a lightly plumped pillow after a hectic day.
So take those couple of minutes each morning to make your bed. It just might improve your entire life!
Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Doubleday Canada, 2012