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The Paradox of Making Your Bed

The Paradox of Making Your Bed

Why a common piece of morning advice has downsides.

You’ll learn: The surprising method of making your bed that will improve your health, how an easy tweak to how you do chores can enhance immune function, and more.

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They say a disheveled bed is a sign of a purposeless life. The sentiment is documented perfectly in Admiral William H. McRaven’s viral commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014:

“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 will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.”

“If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

The talk got the Admiral a book deal. And the resulting Work, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe The World went equally viral.

It’s a great concept overall. The book, of course, isn’t just about the organization of the sheets atop a mattress. It’s more a series of metaphors for living taken from McRaven’s experience in the military.

But the Admiral may be wrong in one big way. Making your bed perfectly comes with some health downsides. We spend about a third of our lives in our bed, and following the advice may lead to health, sleep, and quality-of-life issues.

There’s a better way.

The Perfect Bed Paradox