The Admiral Says Make Your Bed

Flipping mattress

“If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right,” Admiral William H. McRaven said in a graduation speech to the University of Texas that has received millions of views on YouTube and inspired his book Make Your Bed: Small Things That Can Change Your Life… and Maybe the World.

Small things can certainly change your life, with workplace injuries we see it every day. Doing the little things right makes all the difference and you’ll sleep better at night. Follow Admiral William H. McRaven’s advice and use these tips to make your bed the right way, which is the safe way.

Since the dawn of time, where we’ve laid our head to rest has been an important decision, and in those earlier years, a matter of life and death. We’ve advanced from mattresses of leaves, grass and straw to wool, feathers and the invention of innersprings. Innerspring mattresses contain steel coil springs that help support the sleeper’s body. The average mattress has hundreds of springs or “coils” that are connected by wires that help maintain the mattresses shape.  Memory foam is another recent advance for the sleeper, but a challenge for housekeeping personnel.  These newer materials and larger sizes (king size beds are more common today than ever) along with increasing thicknesses have resulted in a much heavier mattress.  This makes it very challenging to make a bed or flip a mattress safely.  

Why rotate and flip a mattress?

Rotating and flipping the mattress at regular intervals means the sleeper puts pressure on different springs within the mattress. This will save the mattress from sagging and will provide support where needed.  To rotate a mattress, simply rotate the mattress end for end so that the end that was at the headboard is now at the footboard. Then flip the mattress side to side.  It is important to note that not all mattresses require flipping. Some beds are designed for extended use and actually become more comfortable the more one sleeps on it. To help remember when to rotate and flip a mattress, add labels to the mattress with the month the mattress needs to be flipped. In the hotel industry, creating a flipping chart by floors or by rooms will extend the life of the mattresses.  Flipping a mattress will not make it last indefinitely, but it will extend the lifespan by several years.

How to flip a mattressWhen taking on the job of flipping or rotating a mattress safely, team work and planning the move is the most important task. Start by:

  1. Identifying the mattresses or rooms that need flipping.
  2. Identify a partner or co-worker that can assist with executing the move safely.
  3. Remove extra furniture, lamps, throw rugs, or cords that may cause tripping hazards or become damaged during the flip.
  4. Communicate the task and clearly communicate the route.
  5. Utilize the handles on the sides of the mattress (if available).
  6. Trial additional tools like Bed MadeEZ or The Tucker for making the bed and/or moving the mattress.

For additional safety solutions for the hospitality industry MEMIC policyholders can access the Safety Director and search “hospitality” in the Resource Library. 

 By Jennifer Campbell