Making the Bed: Powerful Small Habits for Healthier Living

woman making the bed

There’s something to be said for simple habits like making the bed. Routines, if you will. I think we all learned a universal lesson during the throes of a global pandemic: when all else is in chaos, sometimes simple routines can keep you sane.

And if one thing is for sure, it’s that every little bit counts when it comes to motivation, self-care, and stress reduction. We’re going to look at some of the specific ways that making the bed can actually be an effective way to boost your wellness.

What Are the Benefits of Making the Bed Every Morning?

1. Provides a Sense of Accomplishment

When you make a to-do list, do you ever add things at the beginning that you’ve already done? It just points to the fact that an initial sense of accomplishment can be all it takes to get the ball rolling. Making the bed is a simple task that can be completed quickly. By making your bed first thing in the morning, you start your day with a small accomplishment, which can boost your motivation and set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

making the bed checklist

2. Improves Productivity and Organization

Making your bed helps instill orderliness and tidiness. It establishes a sense of organization in your immediate surroundings and can promote that mindset throughout the day. Also, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to make your bed with “hospital corners” or completely wrinkle-free (unless that’s your style). If you’re just trying to get into the habit, start simple by just pulling the covers up and nicely arranging your pillows. If the habit sticks, you may decide you want to step things up. But until then, make it an easy transition as you focus on developing a sustainable habit.

3. Elevates Your Sleep Habits

Research conducted by the Sleep Foundation suggests that individuals who make their bed regularly tend to have better sleep hygiene. It creates a ritual around sleep and signals to your brain that it’s time to wind down. Furthermore, getting into a neat and tidy bed at night can enhance the overall comfort and quality of your sleep. Along those lines, build on those other sleep hygiene habits like sticking to a bedtime and refraining from using electronics while in bed.

sleeping after making the bed

4. Reduces Stress

A clean and organized environment can contribute to reduced stress levels. Coming back to a well-made bed after a long day can create a sense of calm and tranquility. Think of it like a small sanctuary within your bedroom. That being said, as long as we’re discussing healthy bedtime habits, avoid eating in bed. Not only are mattress crumbs a sensory nightmare, but any remnants in the bedroom can also attract pests.

5. Helps Exercise Discipline and Self-Control

Those who start their day with practices like meditation, mindfulness, or yoga know the power of a strong mindset in setting the stage for the rest of the day’s events. Making the bed every morning requires a small dose of discipline and self-control. By consistently making your bed, you can strengthen these qualities. Discipline and self-control can have a positive ripple effect on other areas of your life–whether that’s nutrition, work and productivity, fitness, or general mental health.

mom and daughter making the bed

6. Provides a Positive Visual Impact

A neatly made bed with tight sheets, fluffed pillows, and smooth covers can significantly improve the aesthetics of your bedroom. It can enhance the overall appearance and make the room look more put-together, even if the rest of the space is not perfectly tidy. You don’t have to have a picture-perfect HGTV bedroom (who does?), but at least your bed will be an inviting space at the end of the day.

What Are Some Different Ways to Make the Bed?

Proper bed-making etiquette can vary from culture to culture and even between households. It’s up to you!

  1. Traditional Style: This is the most common way of making a bed. Start by spreading a fitted sheet over the mattress and tucking the corners tightly. Then, place a flat sheet on top, tucking it in at the bottom and sides. Next, add a blanket or comforter, making sure it is evenly spread. Finally, arrange pillows at the head of the bed, followed by decorative pillows or cushions.
  2. Hospital Corners: This technique is often used in hotels or military institutions, but plenty of people use it simply because it’s the neatest. Start by spreading the fitted sheet over the mattress and tucking it in at the corners. Next, place the flat sheet on top, making sure the top edge is folded down about 10 inches to create a neat border. At the foot of the bed, lift the side of the sheet and fold it diagonally, creating a triangular “flap.” Tuck the flap under the mattress, creating a tight, triangular fold. Repeat this on the other side. Finally, add blankets, comforters, and pillows as desired.
  3. European Style: This method involves using a duvet cover instead of a flat sheet and separate blankets. Start by spreading a fitted sheet over the mattress. Then, place the duvet cover on top, making sure it is evenly distributed. Add a duvet or comforter inside the cover, fluffing it out. Finally, arrange pillows at the head of the bed and add any additional decorative pillows or cushions.
making the bed together

Making the Bed Is Worth Your While

Okay, making your bed won’t be the magical solution that will fix all of your problems. But if you have the chance to start your day off on a slightly better note, you never know how that will change the trajectory of your day. Even if you’re skeptical, just start out by setting a goal to make your bed every morning for one week. See how it goes!

You could even challenge a friend to do it with you. Or you can challenge your kids to see who can keep the longest streak. No matter whether you recruit a buddy or build better habits solo, you’re well on your way to improving the rest of your day with a 1-minute ritual. Your body and mind will thank you.

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