Why it’s Important to Make Your Bed When You Have ADHD

Why it’s Important to Make Your Bed When You Have ADHDIn May 2014, Admiral McRaven gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas. In this inspiring speech, he gave the graduating students 10 Life Lessons on how to change the world.

These life lessons came from his career as a navy seal.

Seals are known for their physical and mental strength and their ability to perform warrior acts in brutal conditions. So it was fascinating to hear the first lesson was to make your bed in the morning. It seems to be such a simple thing and to be honest, nothing new; because your mum has been telling you since you were little. However, that simple action has big rewards.

The admiral explains when you accomplish your first task, it gives you a small sense of pride and it encourages to you do another and another. At the end of the day, the simple action of making your bed will have turned into a productive day.

He also makes the point that if you do happen to have a bad day, then at least you will come home to a made bed and that will give you hope that tomorrow will be better.

Do you make your bed? A lot of ADHDers don’t. Here are some of the common reasons:

  • I don’t have time; I am always in a rush in the mornings.
  • What is the point? I’ll only mess it up again in the evenings.
  • It’s boring.
  • It’s just something else I have ‘to do’.
  • No one will notice; I live on my own.
  • I have more important things to do.

Making your bed doesn’t have to take you long. If you have a duvet, all you really need to do is pull it up to the pillows and straighten it out a little. For a more advanced technique, you could plump the pillows and it still would still take you less than a minute.

However, when you have ADHD, the act of making your bed is huge.

1. You have experienced your first ‘win’ of the day. This means you get a shot of dopamine and feel the urge to do something else. To learn more about ADHD and productivity, head here.

2. It improves your self-esteem because you are crossing things off your to do list.

3. You are taking care of yourself and nurturing yourself, which many ADHDers aren’t accustomed to doing.

4. When your bed is tidy, your whole bedroom looks tidier. ADHDers find it hard to tidy up after themselves because it’s boring. Now, you are doing a bit of tidying up without even thinking about it.

5. When you are feeling accomplished and good about yourself, your mood is brighter. You feel happier and that has a knock-on effect for the rest of the day.

I have been recommending making your bed to clients for the last year and every one of them has noticed a positive effect in their lives. Why don’t you give it a try?

Do you make your bed this morning? Leave me a note in the comments section below!!

Here is the speech if you would like to watch it!


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  1. Justine says:

    I take ADHD medicine for depression and struggle with anxiety, but I feel the symptoms listed on your blog are many I experience. I do make my bed because someone suggested it to me and coming home to a made bed is at least ONE CLEAN space I can come home to because it’s a challenge to keep my house clean. I just wanted to support you in your recommendation to make your bed and when there are things like that that I know will be good for me I time how long it takes me to do them and then I realize how little time it does take. So I’m gonna’ keep on making my bed!

    • Hi Justine!
      great job making your bed! and thanks for sharing how it helps you. You are so right, a made bed is a clean space that gives you peace of mind. Plus it might even have a ripple effect 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    I have to make my bed every day, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. If I don’t make my bed it really bugs me. I used to be very messy and not notice the chaos in my bedroom or house and was constantly never able to keep on top of things. Since being on Ritalin as an adult I have found that I am so much cleaner and a lot more productive. I have a spotless house. I’ve also developed systems to save time and minimise impulse control such as buying my groceries online and getting them delivered to my house. I also use timers a lot on my apple watch. Starting my day with making my bed is the first ritual I have to complete as it makes me feel organised. Thanks for your great articles Jacqueline

    • Eric says:

      Rachel, if you’re still out there, may I ask how long you have been taking Ritalin, and whether or not you’ve noticed any cooling off period in your MOTIVATION and DRIVE to actually INITIATE tasks to completion?

      This is my biggest problem and would love some insight, because it sounds like if my ADHD is like yours, Ritalin may be the best choice for me to ask for as long as that motivation factor remains high.

      Also, are you on the faster-acting Ritalin, or the extended release?


  3. I had to sleep on a sofa bed for years so every morning I had to put the bed back into a sofa and put the duvet and pillow into a cupboard so it forced me to start the day with a win 🙂 now I know it was a good thing!

  4. Tracy says:

    I have to say that point 1 is true. I have been “making” my bed for the past 2 months maybe, and it is now a habit so it’s just auto for me when I get up. I just fold the duvet down (not up, because it’s warm here) and adjust the pillows. My motivation is I want to air the bed properly everyday and of course, for my hubby to have a nice tidy bed every night after a hard day at work. It was hard at first but once it becomes a habit it’s just part of your waking up routine. It just takes 1 minute but it helps me fill pumped up for the next thing on my to-do list.

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