7 Things That Happen to Your Mind and Body When You Clean
You already know that a clean house makes you happy to come home to (and shields you from your mother-in-law’s wrath). But did you know that it can help you keep active? Or find more time for your friends? For some extra spring-cleaning motivation, we checked in with cleaning expert Michael Meadows of Merry Maids on both the psychological and physiological benefits of living life tidy.
You’ll Get a Better Night’s Sleep
A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that a whopping 75 percent of participants reported a better night's sleep when their sheets and bedding were both clean and nicely made. “Think about it," says Meadows. “Getting into an orderly bed will obviously enhance comfort and promote relaxation, as opposed to sleeping in a bed that isn’t fresh.” This comfort, in turn, releases serotonin, the neurotransmitter that aids in peaceful (read: anxiety-free) sleep.
You Might Literally Become Happier
According to a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women with messy, cluttered homes reported significantly higher levels of stress in their daily lives. Why? Because visual chaos offsets the body’s natural decline of cortisol (a primary stress hormone), which is meant to occur when you unwind after a long day. “When it comes down to it, a clean home may ultimately reduce your risk for depression,” Meadows adds.
You’ll Be More Motivated To Exercise
Think this sounds crazy? It isn't. “If you stay on top of cleaning your home, rather than waiting for a mess to accumulate, you’ll naturally find more time for fitness,” Meadows says. “Plus, housework and exercise are motivated by the same personality characteristics: a desire to release endorphins, self-regulation and a mind-set for future goals.” And there’s science behind it: A long-term study conducted by Indiana University found that the condition of participants' homes had a direct impact on their level of fitness.
Your Social Life Benefits
Making time for social gatherings in your busy schedule is hard, and without someone offering up a meeting place, plans can easily fall by the wayside. “Keeping your home company-ready can allow for more, and easier, social interactions within your network," says Meadows. “When your home is presentable, you’re happy to invite guests over, and that intimate companionship is good for well-being. In older adults especially, socializing has been known to slow the potential effects of dementia, as well as diminish feelings of isolation.”
Your Creativity Will Increase
“When rooms are tidy and organized, it makes room for more creative energy," explains Meadows. “Being clutter-free in your home can promote clarity that extends to other parts of your life, helping you achieve greater potential both professionally and personally.” A study conducted by Sage Journals also proves this theory: Clutter negatively affects our focus, overloading the visual cortex and slowing down our response time. Create clear space in your home, and your brain will follow suit.
Your Physical Health Will Improve
If you have allergies or frequent colds, your messy house could be the culprit. “Regular cleanings help remove bacteria and viruses that have a negative impact on your health, as well as dust, dander and pollen that enhance allergies,” Meadows says. Ever heard of dust mites? We don’t mean to gross you out, but they’re microscopic, scientifically proven to cause allergies and they live in your pillows, mattress and couch. Now do you feel like vacuuming?
You’ll Be More Mindful of Your Belongings
In his field of work, Meadows has found that general cleanliness and upkeep is proven to extend the life of carpets, furniture and appliances—meaning they will need to be replaced less frequently if you care for them. “Further, when the time comes,” he says, “a showroom-ready, organized home is proven to sell faster and for more than those that will turn off prospective buyers.” How’s that for peace of mind?