The Unmade Bed: A Character Flaw?

When you watch your favorite lifestyle influencers on TikTok or Instagram, you will often see an unmade bed in the background. Does that show an undisciplined character, or is it a comfortable detail? A recent survey found that only 27% of us actually make our beds every morning. Is that the natural result of our busy modern lives, or is it a character flaw?

In his commencement address at the University of Texas, Adm. William H. McRaven told graduates, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small, simple pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.”

McRaven didn’t think of this all on his own. As a Navy SEAL, he was required to make his bed every morning and that bed was inspected. Military beds are supposed to be made so tightly that you can bounce a quarter on them.

Many of today’s adults grew up in homes where they were required to make their beds every day. Some made a point of giving that up as soon as they got out of their parents’ homes. But some are rethinking it now.

Benefits of making the bed every day

Admiral McRaven figures that making your bed every morning starts you out on a disciplined day. Morgan Sung has a more down-to-earth view. “Once the sheets are smoothed down and pillows are fluffed up, you might as well start getting ready for the day,” she wrote.

You’re not going to snuggle down with your phone on top of the comforter, right?

There’s more to it than just avoiding procrastination, though. A survey of 68,000 people found that 71% of bed-makers were happy, while only 38% of those who left their beds unmade described themselves as happy.  The people who made their beds every day were also more likely to exercise regularly, to enjoy their work, and to feel productive during the day.

The National Sleep Foundation did a survey, too. They found that people who made their beds daily slept better. Of course, the cause and effect could go in the other direction: people who get enough sleep might feel like making their beds, while those who don’t sleep well might be too sleepy.

Are there any negatives?

A single study found that dust mites could be encouraged by  making the bed as soon as you get out of it. The premise here is that a bed with warm bodies in it will be more humid, and therefore more appealing to dust mites, than a cold, dry bed. If you pull your covers down and leave the bed unmade, the thinking goes, the bed might end up colder and drier.

This doesn’t actually mean that you should leave your bed in a tangle of sheets and blankets all day. Instead, you should pull the covers down while you shower and dress, Then make your bed.

A detail from that study

One detail from that large scale study mentioned above is that 12% of the people surveyed paid for someone to make their beds for them.

One of the positive effects of making the bed is the pleasant experience of climbing into a tidy bed at night, rather than falling into a messy nest. Even coming home from a long day of work or play and stepping into a tidy bedroom feels good. Stepping into a room with a rumpled bed can be dispiriting. What kind of schlub lives in a room like that? It’s disheartening when the answer is — you.

A Beautiful Day cleaning offers bed making as an add-on service. When we come to do your biweekly cleaning, we can leave you a freshly-made bed.

The wonderful feeling might inspire you to make your own bed on the days when we don’t come in.

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One Reply to “The Unmade Bed: A Character Flaw?”

  1. […] Make the bed. Getting in the habit of making the bed every day keeps the room looking much tidier and more inviting. Use a laundry hamper and a trash bag to keep items from piling up on the bed and he largest surface in your dorm room will look great. […]

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