Making your bed is a daily ritual that divides people into two camps—the dedicated bed-makers and the carefree souls who leave their beds unmade. Some view it as a sacred routine, while others see it as an expression of their free spirit. But beneath these differences lies a question: Does making your bed go beyond aesthetics? Could it have a profound impact on your mental well-being? In this exploration, we’ll delve into the varying viewpoints and examine the scientific research that reveals the surprising influence of this daily chore on your mental health. Let’s start by unraveling the hidden depths of ‘Making Your Bed’ and its remarkable effects on your mind.
Table of Contents
5 Powerful Ways Making Your Bed Enhances Mental Health
1- Making the Bed: A Morning Ritual with Hidden Depths
Does a streamlined bed really do more than just tidy up—and make your parents proud? Many people believe it does, including William H. McRaven, retired Navy four-star admiral and former chancellor of The University of Texas System. McRaven even wrote a book about the key mental health benefits of this ritual called Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World.
In the book, published in 2017, McRaven extols the idea that making your bed in the morning sets you up for success. His theory is that just by making your bed, you’ve accomplished at least that one thing. So, the simple act of tidying up your covers lets you begin your morning with a small success that, the theory goes, will encourage many more throughout the day. You can learn more about this concept in Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World
Studies show that more people make their bed than don’t.
In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s Bedroom Poll, around 70% of Americans make their bed each morning.
Nearly half of respondents in the study also turn their covers down before slipping into bed as night as well.
Researchers also found telling details about the type of people who are more likely to make the bed each morning. For example, those living in the West and Midwest are least likely to make their beds, while those who reside in the South and Northeast are more inclined to take on this daily task—with those on the East Coast doing so at a rate of around 80%.
Age and lifestyle factors also seem to play a role in whether you ascribe to this bedroom ritual. The poll found that those over 40 and those living with romantic partners (married or not) are also more likely to tidy up the bed before moving on with their day.
2- What’s the Point of Making Your Bed?
Some folks wonder if making the bed is worth the effort, especially when you’re just going to dive back under the covers later. But for many, it’s more than a chore—it’s a way to kickstart the day right.
Making the bed isn’t just about neatness; it’s like making a promise to yourself. It’s a way to begin the day with order and a clean slate. It’s about doing the small stuff that can lead to a more organized, thoughtful, responsible, and balanced life.
When you make your bed, you’re telling yourself that you’ll handle the day’s challenges with care and attention. It’s a reminder to be mindful of details, which can make a big difference in your daily life.
Surprisingly, this simple act can give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s like a quick win that boosts your confidence and sets a positive tone for the day. And for some, making the bed is a peaceful ritual that helps calm the morning rush.
So, why bother to make the bed? Because in the grand scheme of things, it’s the little things that shape the bigger picture of your life.
3- The Mental Health Benefits of Making Your Bed
While scientific research into the effects of making your bed is limited, a plethora of personal accounts highlight its significant mental health advantages. These potential benefits encompass a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of calmness, improved sleep quality, enhanced organization, sharper focus, and reduced stress levels.
Organized Spaces and Mental Well-being
Many of these benefits are rooted in common wisdom, but there’s evidence from studies suggesting that maintaining an organized, clutter-free environment contributes to improved concentration, enhanced productivity, and lower stress levels. Messy homes, especially those with extreme clutter or hoarding issues, are associated with difficulties in emotional regulation and mental health challenges.
A Tidy Living Environment and Cognitive Function
Interestingly, research indicates that a tidy living space may also have a positive impact on cognitive function, especially among older individuals, leading to an improved overall quality of life. Conversely, living in a cluttered environment may have adverse effects on one’s well-being.
Tidiness and Personal Attributes
Studies reveal that individuals who prioritize tidiness and organization tend to exhibit better impulse control, goal orientation, and adherence to social norms. This underscores the profound influence of one’s surroundings on their ability to learn, engage with others, and maintain a sense of well-being.
Bed-Making and Better Sleep
Moreover, making your bed may positively influence the quality of your sleep, a crucial factor in maintaining good mental health. Poor sleep has been linked to various health concerns, including heart disease and mood disturbances. Creating a serene sleep environment through bed-making can minimize distractions, thereby promoting restful sleep.
A Positive Impact on Rest
Those who consistently make their bed are also more likely to report achieving the restful slumber they need for optimal mental and physical well-being. In essence, while scientific research may be limited, the practice of making your bed appears to be a simple yet effective step toward a happier and healthier mind.
4- Likely Disadvantages
Making your bed can have surprising downsides, despite being a simple morning routine with both advantages and disadvantages. While tidying up your sleep space is often linked to discipline, there’s an unexpected twist. Some interesting studies suggest that leaving your bed unmade might encourage creativity.
Creativity tends to flourish in messy surroundings, and a disheveled bed or desk can reflect this connection. Researchers have discovered that a cluttered workspace can boost creative thinking. On the contrary, people who prefer tidiness often lean towards convention and tradition. Astonishingly, these effects can be triggered simply by placing someone in either a messy or neat environment. So, leaving your bed undone might spark your creative thinking, while tidying up could enhance focus and orderliness.
On the other hand, there’s a hygiene concern. An older, somewhat humorous study proposes that a neatly made bed could harbor more germs compared to an unmade one. The idea is that an unmade bed allows air and sunlight to discourage the growth of microbes in its dark and damp folds. While it might sound funny, the study does raise questions about the potential health risks of diligently making your bed. It’s important to note that people shed skin cells and sweat during sleep, contributing to the conditions mentioned in the study. A practical solution? Perhaps changing your sheets more frequently could strike a balance between order and cleanliness.
5- To Tidy Up or Let It Be
The question of whether to tidy your bed each day may not change your life a lot. But, there are some benefits, especially for your mind, getting things done, and sleep.
Surprisingly, making your bed can make you feel good and organized for the day, like sorting out your thoughts.
Also, having a neat bed can make your room look better, helping you work better without distractions.
If you like a messy bed or just want to see how it feels, try it for a few weeks and write down how you feel. Then, decide if you want to keep doing it. You can always switch back and forth without any big problems.
Easy Steps to Improve Your Morning Routine
If you want to make your mornings better, you can start by making your bed. It may seem like a small thing, but it can have a big impact on your day.
Here are some simple tips for making your bed a daily habit:
- Tie It to Something You Already Do: When you brush your teeth in the morning, make it a point to make your bed right afterward. Don’t put it off; it only takes a minute. If you wait, you might forget or feel too tired or rushed.
- Set a Reminder: Use your phone to set a reminder if you tend to forget. This can be helpful.
- Team Up: If you live with someone, like a partner, family member, or roommate, share the task. You can take turns making the bed each morning, or one person can do it while the other handles another chore, like changing the sheets once a week.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Just pull up the covers, and you’re done.
Making your bed is a personal choice, so do what makes you feel good. But research suggests that tidying up can clear your mind, boost your mental health, and improve your sleep. Plus, it’s a quick and easy way to start your day with a sense of accomplishment. Who doesn’t like a little win first thing in the morning? And making your bed might even make getting back into it at night even more inviting.
For instance, if you’re looking for more ways to boost your mental health and well-being, you can explore our blog post on 6 Powerful Ways Sunlight Benefits Your Health and Boosts Well-Being. It delves into the positive effects of sunlight on your overall well-being, providing valuable insights into enhancing your daily routine