Daily life can get monotonous, especially the little tasks that don’t seem to have much meaning. A prime example? Making your bed. This simple task can often be overlooked or forgotten, and the consequences of leaving it unmade are relatively minimal.
However, the benefits of making the bed are profound. In a 2014 commencement speech that later went viral and prompted the bestseller, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life. . . And Maybe the World, Admiral William H. McRaven points out that this small act can be the beginning of a snowball of accomplishments for the day.
Little Things Make Big Differences
“If you want to change the world, start by making your bed,” he says. “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 encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will turn into many tasks completed.”
McRaven knows what he’s talking about. As a former Navy Seal, he trained his teams to undertake even the most mundane task with pride and precision, creating an unshakeable basis of success. I highly encourage you to watch the entirety of the speech here.
Better Sleep Hygiene Means Better Sleep
Besides the philosophical reasons behind making your bed, creating a clean and organized space helps us work better and reduce our stress levels. I’ve started forcing myself to make my bed when I get up in the morning, and this small act of being a functioning, organized person has made the rest of my life feel infinitely more put together.
A 2011 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that people that made their beds each day were 19 percent more likely to get a good night’s sleep that evening. The simple task of making your bed makes you less stressed, happier, and a more productive person.
Be Grateful To Have a Bed
When we’re talking about beds, we shouldn’t ignore the very real epidemic of homelessness. According to the Department of Urban Development and Housing, California has seen the largest spikes in homelessness. The Golden State’s increase was more than the national increase of every other state combined.
In 2020, a tally counted more than 161,000 homeless people in California, with the highest concentration in Los Angeles. That’s the equivalent of three Dodgers Stadiums full of people sleeping on the street.
It’s devastating to drive through the streets of Los Angeles and see the tents lined up under the freeway overpasses. I think of my warm cozy bed at home—something I take for granted far too often. I know that any of these people would love to have a bed to make each day. Perhaps making the bed can also be a meditation on our blessings and privileges. And maybe that small act, as McRaven says, can inspire us to do more and help others out of desperate situations.
So tomorrow morning, take five minutes, smooth your sheets, and fluff your pillows. Say a silent ‘thank you,’ to the powers that be for the bed you just made. And then go out into the world ready to make a difference with gratitude and rest.