August 7, 2014
I spent the better part of three and a half decades with this view of daily bed-making: “No way. Why the hell would I do that? I’m just going to sleep in it again tonight.” Other than putting on airs for company, I’d find my bed each night in the same shape I left it that morning. I was perfectly content doing so.
All of that changed recently when I moved in with my lovely girlfriend (now fiancé) for whom life cannot go on each day until the bed is made — and covered with a lot of decorative, non-functional pillows. But that’s another issue. (Relatedly, she also taught me about “pillow chopping,” which I’m happy to explain to the uninitiated.) Now I’m settling into life as a person whose bed looks spiffy and hotel-like all day, every day.
So, really, what better time to take a look at the benefits (or lack thereof) of making your bed? Tomorrow is National Make Your Bed Day, after all. It ranks right up there with other monumental September holidays like National Felt Hat Day (Sept. 15) and National Hot Mulled Cider Day (Sept. 30). It’s a wonder people get anything done this month with all the celebrating.
So is there really a benefit to making your bed every day?
I was surprised to learn that people have given this question a lot of thought.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that people who make their bed every day are 19 percent more likely to get a good night’s sleep. I slept horribly last night, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on this at the moment. Maybe it’s a cumulative effect and I need to put in a few more months.
Charles Duhigg, the author of New York Times bestseller The Power of Habit, claims that making your bed every day is a “keystone habit” that can cause a chain reaction of other good habits and lead to increased productivity, a sense of well-being and the ability to follow a budget.
Others claim that you’ll enjoy crawling into a made bed rather than a disheveled pile of sheets and blankets and that making your bed can even lower stress.
So, have these last few months of bed tidiness vastly improved my life?
I’ll admit that I still don’t necessarily like the actual process of making the bed. I peered out at my unmade bed this morning as I was brushing my teeth, knowing that it was my next task, and felt a slight bit of dread. But, of course, I did it anyway. It only takes a couple minutes and it really does tie the room together.
As for the other benefits, I thoroughly enjoy getting into a well-made bed every night. This is definitely the biggest plus and not something I’m willing to give up. Whether I’m generally more or less productive is anybody’s guess — I haven’t seen a noticeable change in what I get done on any given day. And, unfortunately, I can confidently say that making the bed has not resulted in any desire to stick to a budget, judging by the number of Amazon Prime shipments in recent months and my penchant for random impulse purchases and eating out.
Either way, I’m now permanently in the camp of daily bed-making. I’m sure days of super productivity and budget tracking are right around the corner.