Until I was 21, my motto was: why make my bed when I'm just going to get back in it? But as I've gotten older I've become a bed-making devotee, mainly because it just makes me feel good. As it turns out, making your bed can actually make you happier and more productive. A recent survey from OnePoll and Sleepopolis found that people who make their beds on the regular tend to be morning people who wake up without an alarm. They also trend toward being adventurous, social, confident, and high maintenance.
None of these things describe me. In fact, I tend to have the personality traits of the non bed makers: shy, moody, curious, and sarcastic. However, making my bed every morning does make me happier. I started making my bed when I got a dog because I didn't want to slip into furry sheets each night. I discovered that I like the way it makes my room look neat and orderly. I also realized it makes me feel calm, and more ready to start my day.
I'm not alone in this. Seal William H. McCraven, a retired U.S. Navy Admiral SEAL and author of the book Make Your Bed: Little Things Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World, said in a commencement speech at the University of Texas, McCraven that making your bed can set the tone for your entire day.
"If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day," McCraven explained. "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."
Personally, having a neatly made bed does give me a sense of accomplishment whereas leaving it unmade makes me feel anxious. If making my bed can help quell this anxiety even a little bit, I'm all for it. "If by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better," McCraven added.
On The Muse, Alyse Kalish said adopting a bed-making routine has changed her life for the better. "When I feel overwhelmed, doing this small thing helps me regain my focus," she explained. "Plus, seeing the end result proves I can accomplish something. And when I’ve had a rough day, coming home to my made bed is as welcoming and reassuring as a hug." This is also the reason I always clean my apartment and change my sheets before leaving for a trip — I want to return to a peaceful and welcoming space.
If getting a hug from your bed isn't incentive enough, consider this. The Sleepopolis survey found that bed makers have 50 percent more sex and sleep better than non bed makers. Making your bed is also good for your mental health, and I for one need all the help I can get in that department. Audrey Sherman, Ph.D. explained on Psych Central that messes and disorganization in your home can actually be an outward expression of what's going on inside of your head.
"The symptoms of feeling overwhelmed and not wanting to face the day often stem from not knowing where to start or not wanting to face the mountain of tasks that lay ahead," Dr. Sherman noted. "I have found folks to be so bogged down with even the everyday task of leaving the house on time that their entire day is a mess before they ever get started. By 8 a.m. they are frazzled."
Sound familiar? If you set aside two minutes at the beginning of your day to make your bed, even if you accomplish nothing else all day, you've done this one thing. Making your bed isn't going to cure anxiety or depression, but it is a simple step you can take to regain some control of your narrative. If you feel like you can't do anything right, that's not true. While almost no one can fold a fitted sheet, pretty much everyone can make a bed. Consider giving yourself this one win to see if it helps you gain a new perspective. After all, you have nothing to lose.