Here’s why you should make your bed right after you wake up

Source: Huffington Post

It was one fine evening after work, and my mind was aimlessly wandering on the bustle of West Jakarta streets, filled with creeping vehicles under a bright red shade of the traffic lights. On my halfway back home, I couldn’t think of anything but my bed. The idea of snuggling under the blanket, reposing the right side of my body against the cozy mattress, and listening to the current playlist on my Spotify to sleep, was a mere heaven. It was, and has been, my favorite part of the day after work.

As one big speed bump stroke my motorcycle, I was struck by William McRaven’s ceremonial speech in University of Texas back in 2014. A former United States Navy Admiral, he recalled a morning routine with his subordinates during regular training or preparation for a duty, which later became his mantra as an inspiration for today’s generations. “If you want to change the world, start making your own bed every morning,” he claimed.

At first, an army of questions apprehended me within this state of utter confusion. From the notion of making bed in the morning itself, I started belittling the so-called “success-determining” habit against my ideal vision of achievement.

I asked myself: Does it earn a lot of money? Is making bed every morning able to redefine my own personal view of success? What does folding the sloppy blanket, shoving in the detached pillow covers to its cushion, and arranging the disorderly bolsters, have to do with becoming a “happy” person no matter what job I’m doing or how much money I earn?

This is just absurd.


Well, not really…

…not until he added:

The competency of handling big matters starts from handling (seemingly) small matters.

As for the case of McRaven’s subordinates, their success is determined by the discipline of doing intensive and repetitive small matters during training. One specific habit that he mentioned is making bed right after getting up. Although he didn’t specifically elaborate why the activity should be put as top priority, I managed to find the reasons based on my own personal experience.

So, why bed-making? Because beds are the first thing that we see when we get up. No matter where the tip of your sheet goes, a bit far off from the bedding or heavily disheveled because you’re an aggressive sleeper (this isn’t an overshare!), the sheet needs their own space.

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

I remember Mark Twain’s expression: “Eat a live frog first in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” and had no idea until now how much it resonated with making beds in the morning.

As for myself, it has fulfilled me with the idea of constant diligence, tidiness, and hygiene. In short, it gives me a rejuvenating sense of achievement. Now that I’ve realized it, the level of tidiness in my bed, on one hand, is a reflection of the degree of excitement of the things I’ll be doing that particular day.

Whether it’s a casual day at work, a best friend’s extravagant wedding, my brother’s engagement party, or a quick 3-day escapade to a foreign island, The Bed should be part of the first main considerations.

On the other hand, it is also a reflection of what I am. I have seen some people who get up and don’t even look back to their beds. They rise, brush their teeth, shower, get ready for work, and simply leave their beds messy, thinking that someone else will do it for them (could be their mothers, home assistants, or, well, no one at all.)

I myself was THAT person for some time, and all I get when I return home is this complicated, jittery feeling. Who did this to my bed? Did my room just get robbed? Who moved the cushions? And even worse, Why did no one make my bed for me? I kept blaming other people and the universe as to why my bed didn’t magically go back to its place.

As I get older, I become more aware of what my grandparent used to tell me. That making bed in the morning will bring more benefits for the future me. This might sound similar to those oldie-but-goodie advise like “never sleep again after a Subuh prayer” as it will take my luck away.

Although this mantra does not always work (I mean, I’ve slept a lot of times after 6 in the morning and have been lucky many times haha), it resonates truth in certain places.

Moreover, I become instrumental in captaining my time and activity management for that whole day. Who knew that beyond those messy bed sheets and scattered bolsters, lay a new sliver part of myself that surfaces every morning right when I open my eyelids, patiently waiting to be asked:

When will I be discovered?