American author and inventor Benjamin Franklin’s quote ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise’, appeared as early as in the 1700s. ‘The early bird catches the worm’ is another saying worth remembering.
This is what our elders have been saying. Our scriptures and folktales always emphasise the importance of getting up early every day. But we of this fast moving modern world have ignored it to our peril. Even if we understand its importance we are not able to do anything about it for reasons like late night work schedules, our preference to stay awake and spend time with our friends or on social networking sites or chat on the phone. I know folks who have never seen the sun rise and most of them blame it on their job timings and lack of time.
Though these explanations may be valid, they’re cited only to avoid rising early; if we want we can get up early, because ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ Another way of looking at this habit of extending our sleep way beyond sunrise is as an act against nature. All creatures small and big, follow nature’s cycle except humans. Most of us prefer to get up late because we like to laze in the cozy comfort of our beds. This lazy mood affects your mind and brain without your realising it. But studies have shown other reasons too. It seems that some of our body clocks may not be tuned for this purpose. Scientists call this ‘phase delay’. According to Jean Matheson, a sleep-disorders specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, we have difficulty in getting out of bed because our ‘inner clock’ is tuned to ‘late wake-up’.
It is said that we can train ourselves by setting our alarm clock 10-15 minutes earlier each morning. Science comes to the rescue of teenagers as well. ‘Why do teenagers love criminally long lie-ins? They’re not lazy — they really do need more sleep than the rest of us, says Kreitzman, to cope with the many hormonal, physical and emotional changes their bodies are going through,’ reports the Daily Mail. So teenagers do have an excuse for sleeping longer.
Getting up early, like at five or six o’clock, will be an ordeal initially. But with time and practice you’ll be able to do this and you’ll experience the comfort of this routine. Similarly, you’ll enjoy the freshness of body, mind and heart that you feel when getting up early happens like clockwork. You may even perform yoga or take an early walk through the quiet streets breathing the fumeless air. Or you may finish the office work you brought home, or help your mother in the kitchen, or read.
Some of us skip breakfast and have a heavy meal at night — which is a bad practice. As the saying goes, your breakfast should be like a king’s food — for it is this meal that will give you the energy for the rest of the day. You may have enough time to start early, dress leisurely, drive safely and get away from the traffic.
All said and done it is not easy to get up, relinquishing the warmth of the blankets and the coziness of the bed. But once you get up early you will enjoy what daybreak offers. Contemplate what writer Vera Nazarian said, “Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.”
I cannot promise you that if you get up early you will experience an ‘amazing moment of birth’ or it would ‘spur you to action’.
But I am sure that being an early bird you will get a great experience of serenity and have ample time to accomplish anything you wish.