It’s one of those things that our parents nagged us about when we were kids, and maybe we now have to remind our own kids about. So why is making the bed so important?
Historically, making the bed was an arduous chore. In richer households a maid would have a daily routine which involved first taking off all the sheets, counterpane and blankets and giving them a hearty shake. She would then lay them out over a chair, careful to keep them in the right order. She would also shake the pillows to redistribute the feathers. The bed would then air whilst she did some other jobs, like preparing breakfast.
On her return she would turn the top mattress before plumping the pillows and replacing the under blanket, followed by the under sheet, which she would firmly tuck in. Next came the upper sheet, followed by up to 3 or 4 blankets, all tucked in once more, with the top of the sheet folded back over the blankets to keep itchy wool away from the sleeping person. Lastly, she would replace the counterpane or quilt and smooth it down. If there were bedstead curtains these would be pulled round the bed.
So, can we really complain about a little light shaking and tucking?
If you are on the side of the bed-making reluctants, here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider. As you will see, making your bed may just have quite far-reaching effects on your wellbeing…
Reasons to make your bed
- It’s really not very time-consuming. Just plump your pillows, give your duvet a quick flap and straighten out, and tuck in the top sheet (if using).
- It’s far nicer to come home at the end of a long day to a job that’s already been done, rather than finding one more thing you need to do.
- A made bed gives a feeling of order and calm to your bedroom. A bed is usually the most prominent piece in a bedroom, so keeping it tidy and neat will improve the look and feel of the whole space.
- You will sleep more comfortably. If your sheets are askew or knotted, or if your duvet feathers have all sunk to the bottom, you may not feel comfortable. This can affect the quality of sleep you get. A cosy, tidy bed equals snug sleep.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed by things-to-do, or by life in general, tackling one small task each day can really help reduce anxiety and help you feel on top of things. Housekeeper and organiser extraordinaire, the Flylady, recommends a similar tactic in the kitchen. She advises simply making sure your sink area is clean and uncluttered as it’s the first thing you will see when you walk into the kitchen in the morning. Apply this same logic to your bedroom. Even if there are piles of clothes strewn around, or a dusty nightstand, seeing a tidy bed will give you a sense that things are manageable. It might even give you energy to tackle other areas of the room. (For help with decluttering, check out this interview.)
Have we convinced you? There’s also a debate about exactly how we should make our beds. Most of us now use duvets, but if you live in Europe you might not use a top sheet as well, whereas in the US this is far more common. A top sheet will help keep your duvet fresh and feels extra cosy, but it is one more thing to wash and iron.
Fitted sheets are another area of contention, with some of us loving the convenience of just tucking the corners over (for tips on how to fold a fitted sheet go here). Others prefer a flat sheet with crisp hospital corners that will fit your mattress exactly. It’s all a matter of taste, but the main thing to ensure is that your bedding is top quality, super comfortable and washes well. Linen is perfect on all counts, regulating your body temperature, wicking away moisture and getting better with every wash. On this, for us, there’s no debate.