One of the best deceptions of my post-adolescence involves smoothing out my sheets before a guest comes over in order to create a sleep sanctuary (one that will, in all likelihood, be demolished after they leave). There’s a reason for that—making your bed gives the illusion of put-togetherness; it’s solid proof that you’re Living Your Best Life. A recent study (“study,” really) is speaking to the differences between bed-makers and non-bed-makers, and the results are…well, I only feel slightly attacked.
In a survey conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Sleepopolis, 2,000 Americans divulged their personal habits (including their music, TV, and alarm clock preferences), as well as whether they regularly make the bed in the morning (or not). It found that bed-makers are “adventurous, confident, sociable, and high-maintenance,” while non-bed-makers are “shy, moody, curious, and sarcastic.” Uh, what do you mean, moody?
It goes on to say that bed-makers are bright-eyed morning people who have sex just a liiiittle bit more than non-bed-makers (three times a week versus two). They have better quality of sleep and more time in the day to get s***t done during the day because they wake up a whopping 16 minutes earlier. Yeah, because they don’t hit snooze 500 times like most bed-makers (guilty).
Historically speaking, being a bed-maker is emblematic of major prospects. When researching for her book on happiness, Gretchen Rubin revealed that bed-making was consistently brought up in conversations about mood-boosting life changes.
Historically speaking, though, being a bed-maker is emblematic of major prospects. When researching for her book on happiness, Gretchen Rubin revealed that bed-making was consistently brought up in conversations about mood-boosting life changes. And one 2017 survey conducted by socio-economist Randall Bell showed that bed-making was a habit of highly successful people, the first thing on a millionaire’s to-do list.
And maybe you’ve seen that 2014 speech with US Navy SEAL William H. McCraven, who urged that if you want to change the world, start with making your bed. “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he explained. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Totally, gotcha. My question is: What does it say about you if you fall into the gray areas of bed-making? Like, you could be a stickler for a corner tuck when you’re dressing your bed with fresh sheets, but your wee children are constantly jumping on the bed and you don’t have the energy to always re-do it. Or maybe you identify as a non-bed-maker but really that just means you make your bed sans a top sheet. Which of course, top sheets are pointless. [Editor’s note: This is a controversial opinion and not one I share, but I’m gonna let it slide.]
Help me out, science: Currently, my paisley, dorm-nightmare BB&B comforter is obscured by a plaid skirt, pink bomber jacket, canvas bag filled with other misc. other laundry, four travel books on Italy (from 2014?), and two packets of make-up wipes. HOWEVER, that comforter is totally pulled up and pointed in the right direction. The pillows are all accounted for and in their proper place. Does this mean that despite my messy life as a writer, I’m secretly adventurous and sociable? Or that, deep down, I want to be a world-changing millionaire? Do I make the bed, or does the bed make me?
Existential crisis aside, I understand the perks of becoming a bed-maker. It’s a small task that at best kicks off a positive chain of productivity, plus has the feel-good satisfaction of “Yes, I did the thing.” It’s something worth making habitual, and no harm if you just use it as a quick pick-me-up to retain a sense of control.
But I’m still not 100-percent convinced you can sum up another person by their bed-making habits. Because whenever someone sees my bed looking hotel-worthy, it only confirms one thing about me: That I’m chill with benignly deceiving people.
Originally published September 21, 2018; updated April 5, 2019.
If making your bed gives you a karmic boost, just imagine what turning your room into a self-care sanctuary can do. And here are 6 tips for waking up earlier (even if you like to hit the snooze button).
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