Making Your Bed & Are You Setting the Tone for the Day?
Whether you religiously make you bed every morning or you don’t care, or don’t find the time, to do the necessary, you will find good reasons to support your stance.
When it comes to the morning routine, we could not be more divided. But does your decision affect your mental or physical health?
It could be your upbringing, your training or just how you feel naturally that forms your decision.
Two sides of the coin
Former US Navy Admiral William H McRaven has been known to tell trainees: ‘”f you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.”
Turn over the coin and Dr Stephen Pretlove of Kingston University in London is a supporter of the unmade bed, saying: “We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”
Some of the advantages in making your bed when you get up
- It is said that those who make their beds (regularly) cultivate a proactive attitude that goes beyond the minutes spent straightening out the sheets.
- The writer Charles Duhigg says in his book “The Power of Habit” that making your bed every morning is one way to build a series of good habits.
- Some people do not make their beds out of any sense of duty but because they actually enjoy coming back to a clean and tidy home at the end of the working day, equating it with the same problem of leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Mindy Starns Clark, author of the best selling book “The House That Cleans Itself“, claims the decision should be a mental and emotional one. “If a made bed feels good to you, the room seems neater and you feel better about your home and yourself, then you need to make it each day.”
But she goes on to say that if a made bad has absolutely no emotional impact on you, then she suggests you do not worry about it, adding that life is too short…
The advantages in not making your bed in the mornings
These seem to center around the “mites” factor with many believing that if you do make your bed first thing, those dust mites stay in a warm environment all day, where they can be very busy multiplying. However, keeping the bedclothes open all day helps the sweat to evaporate.
Dr Maree Barnes, President of the Australasian Sleep Association, agrees that dust mites can be an issue because they live on flakes of skin that we shed all the time. It is well known that our beds do tend to accumulate flakes of skin and therefore provide food for the dust mites. The answer can be to shake out your bedding well every morning when you get out of bed – before making it again.
But that does seem to be rather a lot of hard work and probably would not suit those who tend to leave their bed unmade for reasons of time constraints.
And sitting on the fence?
That same Dr Maree Barnes says that it is totally up to the individual, adding that there is no real reason the bed needs to be made every day, but if it helps you to sleep better, then you should do it.
How about this compromise?
Ideally, when you get out of bed (and to keep both those for and against making their beds in the mornings happy), throw back the covers and allow the bedding to have a good airing. Come back later when you have finished your other early morning tasks to finish making your bed. Of course this always depends on how much time you have.
At the end of the day, I always think it is nice to do things in reverse and turn back your bed covers and switch on the bedside light so that everything is cosy and inviting at bedtime – just like my mother used to do!
And here is more on the subject of beds.
We spend a third of our lives with our heads on our pillows so perhaps we should be more careful about how we choose our pillows in the first place, how we maintain them and how often we replace them.
Those pillows on our beds, if left virtually undisturbed, are said to resemble a complete micro ecosystem made up of house dust mites, fungal spores and human sweat and other moisture. We also need to ask how healthy is our bed?
House dust mites and the allergies they can cause
Unfortunately, house dust mites are found in every home without exception! They thrive in warm and humid homes with lots of food. And this food is of course human skin which we shed all day long and especially in bed.
As mites prefer to live close to their best food source, they are in our beds and as a result we inhale plenty of dust mite allergens which are in their excretion. This excretion contains a number of protein substances which when inhaled or touch the skin cause the body to produce antibodies. It is when these antibodies release histamine that we get that swelling and irritation of the upper respiratory passages such as in hay fever and asthma. Many people will take an anti-histamine medication to counteract this. House dust mites are not seasonal but there all the year round causing allergic conditions. We share information on more natural remedies here.