Making your bed is an easy task that often goes out the window when you are no longer being nagged by your parents to do it.
Whether you're rushing to work, or too lazy to climb over your bed to secure the fitted sheet, it should come as no surprise most of us don't make our beds in the morning.
According to a survey of 68,000 people by Hunch.com, 59 percent of people don't make their beds, while 27 percent do. The other 12 percent pay someone to do it for them.
While making your bed each morning is probably the last of your worries, there is plenty of reason to suggest those who make their beds in the morning are happier and more productive.
Here's why you should consider the habit.
Let's be real, the hardest part is actually getting out of the bed, not making it. Depending on how much you toss and turn at night, making your bed in the morning should only take around two minutes.
You can even use those two minutes to go through your to-do list of the day and mentally prepare for what's in store. And it might even help you get to work on time, since you won't have to dig through your sheets for that pair of clean socks.
It gives you an accomplished feeling first thing in the morning.
Naval Admiral William McRaven nails it in his commencement speech a the University of Texas, Austin:
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will 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. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
It helps with the clutter and visual appeal of your room.
This is an obvious one, but way overlooked. Your room is your sanctuary, and a decluttered space is proved to reduce stress.
There has been a recent surge in decluttering books and methods, more notably Marie Kondo's declutter bible, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," all linking clutter to higher levels of stress.
Andrew Mellen told the Huffington Post physical clutter is often a representation of emotional clutter that only adds to a stressful situation.
So, not only does making your bed make it look more inviting when you're ready to hit the hay, but the habit helps declutter your space and mind.
“The state of your bed is the state of your head.”
Gretchen Rubin, a New York Times bestselling author on happiness, emphasized that point and told Elite Daily a made-up bed can affect your psyche. She said,
Your bed is a symbol of you. There's something about having your bed feel orderly that makes your life feel that way.
It increases productivity and happiness.
Of the Hunch.com survey respondents, 71 percent of bed makers say they are happy, while 62 percent of non-bed makers consider themselves unhappy.
Bed makers are also more likely to enjoy their jobs, work out regularly and get more sleep, compared to non-bed makers, who hate their jobs, avoid the gym and are generally tired, according to Psychology Today.
If that isn't disturbing enough, a survey conducted by the Sleep Foundation found those who make their beds every day or almost every day are more likely to get a good night's sleep every day or almost every day than those who don't make their beds.
Moreover, according to “The Power of Habit,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, making your bed can boost productivity and create stronger skills at sticking with a budget.
In addition, Rubin told Elite Daily throughout her research, making the bed was the most frequently mentioned habit that people said led to their happiness. She said,
It's a pretty trivial thing, but over and over people say that getting control of this little action makes them feel more in control of their life, generally.
It prepares you for things you don't want to do.
By doing something you don't want to do, you are mentally preparing yourself and getting in the habit of doing tasks you may not want to do, but have to do, Rubin added.
This can range from an uncomfortable conversation with a friend, doing a boring project at work or sitting in a class you frankly don't want to be in.
It's a gateway to other good habits.
In his book, Duhigg describes the habit of making your bed as keystone habit. Keystone habits are routines that if identified, spill over into other feel-good habits like cooking your own food or going to the gym.
Every person's keystone habit differs; it can range from watching less TV to eating an apple a day.
Research also shows when we focus on small changes like cooking one meal a week, improving your posture or going to bed a few minutes earlier, the improvement is likely to spread to other habits.
But the contagious quality of making your bed is only effective if you enjoy doing it and partaking in other good habits. Rubin said,
It's true for some people, I wouldn't think that it's inevitable. But it must tap into something you already have within you.
But if it's not your thing, science is on your side, too.
It takes 66 days for a task to turn into a habit or routine, but if you can't fade the whole bed-making thing for that long, don't sweat it.
Some scientists say untidy beds can keep us healthy, by warding off dust mites, the bugs often blamed for sniffles and asthma. They can't survive in the warm, dry conditions of an unmade bed. Score.
Citations: Make Your Bed, Change Your Life? (Psychology Today), University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address - Admiral William H. McRaven (YouTube), Unclutter Your Life, Declutter Your Heart (Huffington Post), Happiness Tip: Make Your Bed (ChristineCarter.com), Bedroom Poll (Sleep Foundation), Make Your Bed! For Productivity, Profit And Peace (Apartment Therapy), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world (European Journal of Social Psychology), Good news! Not making your bed kills the dust mites! (The Daily Mail)