What should you do in bed?
Your mother repeated it to you daily because to you, that of making the bed knowing that you were going to undo it again, seemed like an unnecessary effort. And yet, few things as simple as a well-made bed can provide us with such a sense of well-being.
Maybe your mother was right and recomposed the bed where you sleep should be your first action of the day. It’s just a matter of routine, of habits. But making the bed or not can significantly influence how the rest of your day will happen.
There is no healthy way to do that unless you are in the military or if you work in a hotel or hospital. Any military, like any floor waitress or nursing assistant, knows how to prepare the perfect bed, and it is not difficult to find guides with detailed instructions on the internet. Westwing or WikiHow are just two examples.
At home, however, fixing the bed is more a matter of how our parents taught us and of our ability and mania. Even the guides to being a perfect wife published in the last century that we have been able to consult do not mention how this task should be done.
It seemed that making the bed was something innate in the woman, a work that was transmitted from mothers to daughters until feminism hit the table, and domestic work also became a thing of men (or, at least, in that we are).
The truth is that this Particular Piece of furniture that would be very Hard for Individuals to do without can say a lot about us, on our personality. A psychologist will give signs of whether you suffer from depression or are an obsessive person of order. It has inspired artists and has served as the basis for pacifist mobilizations. And there are those who say that merely adopting the bed-making routine in the morning can be the lever that changes the world.
In the beginning, was the straw
Why do we say “make the bed” if we do not disassemble it at night as if it were a Lego? By the same token that we say “pull the chain” when we discharge the water from the toilet cistern even if it is enough to press a button: because it initially did so.
There was a time when making the bed should be interpreted in a literal sense. Some sources speak of the time of the Roman Empire, and others place their origin in the Middle Ages, but the way to build a bed on which to rest was practically the same.
Then he slept on straw-filled pallets (or directly on a pile of it) that were placed on the floor without much more paraphernalia. Every day, when getting up, it was necessary to empty them and put their stuffing to dry to avoid moisture or allocate the straw to other necessities. So every night, you had to make the bed again literally.
From that process, the expression seems to also originate in making someone’s bed, in his sense of deceiving, of preparing a trick. If instead of just straw, they also put some stones, grace was served, and the phrase we still use today to talk about foul play too.
Just as funny was the great flask, that quarrel joke that was spent making the bed of some unsuspecting folding the sheets in such a way that it would be impossible to get into it, at least completely stretched.
The bed can also be your office
One of the first tips that can be given to those who decide to work from home is to get out of bed. However, significant figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Mark Twain, or Scott Fitzgerald have created many of their works or have had their best ideas stuck to the sheets.
Ramón María del Valle Inclán and Vicente Aleixandre, for putting us in their homeland, working in bed for their delicate health. The great Galician wrote lying down the pages that he then nailed with pins to a table for his wife to order and transcribe. Aleixandre, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977 and a member of the Generation of 27, was also forced to turn his bedroom and his own house into a workplace and receiving visitors.
It is said that he was once a Swedish television team to shoot a report about him after winning the Nobel Prize, and one of the reporters asked him to record him in his workplace. “I’m afraid it won’t be, you’ll excuse me, but I always write in bed,” the old poet replied kindly.
Paul Bowles also spent the last years of his life lying on a bed. There he patiently received visitors, often unknown people, waiting as he confessed to writer Nuria Barrios, death.
Truman Capote described himself as “a completely horizontal writer.” “I can’t think unless I’m lying, either in bed or stretched out on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee in my hand.”
‘My bed,’ by Tracey Emin
Edith Wharton, the author of The Age of Innocence, used the bedroom and bed as an office. There he spent long hours writing and throwing the pages on the floor as he finished them, where his secretary picked them up to order them later and type them. Even in bed, he gave himself to his great hobby: reading.
And the screenwriter Gérard Brach, a regular contributor to Polish film director Roman Polanski in films such as Tess, Repulsion, or The Vampire Dance, among others, barely left the bed or his house because he had agoraphobia. To the point that it was the directors who wanted to work with him who moved there to shape the projects.
The bed, artistic object, and pacifist icon
In art they turned their bedding artists like Van Gogh, who immortalized his modest bed in the room of Arles where he was staying; and the British Tracey Emin, whose scrambled and the dirty mattress was turned into an artistic work in what she defined as “a work of confessional art.”
My bed came about casually. After a romantic break, the artist entered a stormy spiral of depression and alcohol. When he woke up after several nights of drunkenness, he checked his own bed with disgust. However, that scramble of dirty sheets, cigarette butts, and empty bottles had become a work of art. A work of art that was sold at an auction of Christie’s in 2015 for 2.5 million pounds (3.2 million euros).
Although there is a world icon, those were the beds that John Lennon and Yoko Ono turned into symbols of the pacifist struggle in 1969, protesting in pajamas and without any fuss against the Vietnam War.
In this way, the humble objects that surround us can become History, with capital letters. It is, therefore, appropriate to take care of them and devote particular attention to them.
The unmade bed gives lousy luck and other superstitions
Man is a rational being until he crosses a black cat ahead and enters fully into the terrain of fear and folly. The bed also does not get rid of having its own false beliefs and traditions.
For example, it is said that not making the bed brings bad luck. But doing it anyway is not a guarantee of good fortune. Moreover, once we start doing it, we must not be interrupted, we cannot sneeze, and we must watch so as not to turn the sheets upside down.
Making a bed for newlyweds the day after the wedding was the first step that two single women would have to take to get married the following year. The bouquet, it is assumed, would be a plus in that marriage draw.
The placement of the mattress in the room is also subject to curses or, at the very least, to sleep disorders. Thus, the headboard of the bed should face north or east.
Nor should they be crossed with respect to underground water currents. And very important: do not think of sleeping with your feet facing the door. It is the worst of the omens. Keep in mind that in that position, the dead were placed in the wake so that it would be easier to remove the coffin from the house.
One of the things that experts suggest in order is to wash the sheets at least once a week. But, beware, because tradition says you shouldn’t do it the last twelve days of the year if you don’t want to fall ill. Don’t even think about doing laundry on Friday, because the devil will come, who has nothing else to do, to control your dreams for a whole week.
The list of superstitions on the bed is neat if you want to have a better time reading what you should not do and what to do to attract good luck while you make the bed.
Reasons to make the bed every day
If you run out of your house one morning because you’re late for work and leave the bed unmade, will you curse and have a crappy day? Surely not, it is not advisable to exaggerate. Those things could only bother your mother, and you have already lived alone for a long time. But psychologically, you will feel better if you spend a few minutes each morning to do it.
First of all, because it will be the first achievement of the day, who doesn’t want to start their day with success, even if it’s small? If afterward, everything goes wrong, and your boss considers you useless, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that your bed is made. It never hurts to have a nail to hold on when things get twisted.
If money calls money, the order calls order. A clean and tidy room starts with a well-made bed. Making the bed invites to continue collecting the apartment and the house, by extension. Total, already posts…
The order also makes us feel better, more comfortable, and relaxed. So your stress level may decrease if we include a well-disposed cot in that order. And if you’re not stressed, your productivity increases.
The psychologist and coach Eva Hidalgo said in an article published in El País that a habit like making the bed could favor the concept we have of ourselves, to raise our self-esteem. In addition, it marks the moment when the rest ends, and the activity begins. Or what is the same, it helps us to activate.
“Starting the day making the bed helps us foster the feeling of having the ability to organize,” said Hidalgo. And, by way of conclusion, he recommended to people with low self-esteem to acquire «this type of habits to maintain a certain regulation of their time and space, avoid apathy and work the ability to control their life.»
But making the bed as soon as you get up may not be a good idea.
Contrary to what your mother says and these theories we have just listed, there are scientific studies that ensure that making the bed every morning can be detrimental to our health.
The bed we sleep in is a breeding ground for microscopic life, more specifically mites. And these ticks are responsible for allergies. According to research by Kingston University (London), mattresses, blankets, sheets, stuffed animals are an ideal breeding ground for ticks because they record the perfect temperature and humidity for survival.
Explained the director of the study, Stephen Pretlove, that not making the bed favors that the sheets and the clothes that cover it are aired and, therefore, dry. That dehydration of their habitat would cause the mites to die. It is, therefore, appropriate to let the room and the bed ventilate at least a little while.
But let’s not sing victory ahead of time.
“The two groups of allergens that induce respiratory allergy to mites belong to the cytoskeleton proteins (the shell of the mites) and to the digestive proteins contained in the dejections or excrements thereof, which will continue to be present in mattresses and cushions, including after his death. Therefore, from SEIAC, we doubt that this measure can eradicate allergies,” he concluded.
A simple task that can change the world
This was the former Navy SEALS admiral and today rector of the University of Texas William McRaven. During a speech for one of the promotions of that university in 2014, McRaven said: «Making the bed every morning means successfully completing the first task of the day. That simple gesture will give you a little reason to be proud and face the next task of the day.
In his opinion, that simple action, carefully stretching the sheets, placing the pillows in their right place with military precision, made him proud and encouraged him to continue doing other jobs.
«Making the bed is also a way of remembering the importance of small details in life. If you are not able to do small things well, you will not be able to do great things either,” he said in his speech.
And he concluded: «On the other hand, if your day has been horrible, at least, when you return to bed, you will find it made with the promise that tomorrow will be better.
Maybe your mother is right, after all. Go back to your room and make the bed.