5 Small Reasons to Make Your Bed

My parents never told me to make my bed. I don't think they made their bed. The idea was a foreign concept to me, a dated practice I'd seen only in old books and movies, like having piss-boys. That wasn't even a real practice, just something from History of the World Part I. I assumed actually making your bed was a similar fiction.

I don't think I made my bed once in the first 20 years of my life, although a petty tyrant of a Scoutmaster did force us all to make our frickin' sleeping bags every night at summer camp one year. It was an awful week.

Then, one day last fall I walked into my friend David's room and I realized his bed was made.

"Do you always make your bed?" I asked.
"Haven't you been in my room like a thousand times?" he snorted. He likes to exaggerate, but he's not very good at it. He thinks everyone in the College of Arts and Sciences is by default an English major. I usually can't even tell who he's trying to insult.
"Oh, I wasn't trying to play the question game," I said. He looked at me in confusion for a minute, so I clarified, "Seriously, do you you make your bed every morning?"

He apparently did. I struggled with the idea that someone with such a similar age, upbringing, and mental faculties would put in the effort to make his bed every single morning. It seemed like a waste of time and effort. Nevertheless, the next day I tried it out of curiosity.

And let me tell you: it felt good. It felt good to take care of myself and my belongings. It felt good to plan for the future. I discovered for the first time how much hair, lint, and dirt piles up in my bed since I had changed the sheets.

That night, when it was time to go to bed, I looked forward to getting under the covers. I didn't have to dump laundry, papers, books, garbage, electronics, or anything else off my bed. It was just ready and waiting for me to use it. I didn't get tangled in the sheets. They were smooth, centered, and perfect.

I can't believe I had never done it before. If you're not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should make your bed. It's not going to change your life, but it will make it appreciably better.

1. To Make Sleep Appealing

Have you ever walked into your bedroom, exhausted and ready to go to bed, to find said bed mercilessly piled with junk: magazines, mail, dirty clothes, cell phone chargers, discarded plastic, etc.? I don't even know where this stuff comes from, but it somehow gets on my bed from the moment I wake up to the moment I come home in the evening. And the sheets are all bunched up, half the blanket's fallen off the bed, one pillow fell off entirely. You have to move all the stuff, find the pillow, and recreate some semblance of order before you have a place to sleep.

I can't tell you how many times I've postponed even going to bed because the prospect of dealing with my bed was so unappealing.

2. To Be Ready for Expected (or Unexpected) Guests

This is pretty self-explanatory. You never want to be in a position where you can't bring someone into your room because you're embarrassed about the state of disarray in which you last left it. Even if you're not embarrassed, well, you should be, and anyways it averts an inevitable and annoying clean-up later.

3. To Be Mindful

Mindfulness as a concept is outside the scope of this article, but all you need to know is that making your bed in the morning keeps you aware of your surroundings and gives you an easy, concrete way to have a beneficial impact on your surroundings. The mindfulness habit is huge for building inter-personal relationships and pursuing self-improvement in general.

4. To Keep Your Bed Clean

Like I mentioned above, I find a load of schmutz in my bed whenever I make it. Making it each morning gives me a chance to pick out any hair, lint, dirt, or anything else I find. I won't tell you what else I've found. OK, I will.


Gross, right?

5. To Help You Sleep Better

I sleep better when my bed is made. No doubt about it. I get less tangled in my sheets, the blanket is less likely to fall off in the middle of the night, etc. It's an empirical fact that I wake up less during the night if I made my bed the morning before.

How to Make Your Bed

This is up to your discretion - it's your bed after all. Part of being mindful is being aware of what your current and future needs are. For my part, I untangle the sheets and blankets and re-lay them over the bed, centering them. I pull the elastic of the bottom sheet down to make sure it won't come off in the middle of the night. I clean up any dirt in the bed. I center my pillows.

That's pretty much it. It takes a little less than a minute. Try it!


Photo is Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Credit for this photo goes to Gorgo and Wikimedia. I took a nearly identical photo when I was there last summer, but it got corrupted as it was coming off my camera. I think I need a new camera.