Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let there be night

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." This quote is attributed to Ben Franklin. Clearly, Ben was not a night person. I am.

General wisdom has it that rising early is the preferred practice. "The early bird gets the worm" goes the saying. I admit there are a number of benefits to rising early. I love the quiet morning hours, and the magic of the dawn and rising sun. You can beat the traffic on your commute (though it seems these days you must be exceptionally early to accomplish this). It is satisfying to have a productive early morning and feel by, say, 10 o'clock you have accomplished so much. The morning isn't so rushed and stressful if you give it an early start.

A couple of days ago I arose at 5AM to hit a couple of black Friday sales. It was a novel break in my normal routine, and I did snag some desired sale items (the early bird did get the worm!). I had a leisurely breakfast and did accomplish so much by noon. But to do this every day? Not me.

What about the other side of the coin?

I've decided my body wants to run on a 25 hour day. We should come off of daylight savings time every day of the year. In general, I don't want to go to bed yet when I know I should. My mind is active and there are things to do.

Evenings, especially late evenings, are quiet with minimal outside distractions. My mother, who is also a night person, knows to call me after 10PM because I will be home and wide awake. Except that late evening is my favorite time to play tennis--often until nearly 11PM. Easier to get courts and play longer with the reduced demand. For stores that stay open until 9PM I prefer evening shopping and less traffic. Going to work later and coming home later is another strategy for avoiding traffic. Speaking of work, I find most of my colleagues work a later schedule, so things often don't heat up until afternoon so it is difficult to leave before 5PM anyway. The internet is open 24 hours, so research, shopping, and work are all available on my computer at home. My most productive, quiet, and personal time seems to come after 9PM. That's when my body and mind seem to hum.

Which makes waking early troublesome. On days when, by choice, necessity, or otherwise, I rise early after going to bed late I can feel dragging all day, especially during sedentary activities. I can get a slight stiff neck and headache. My ideal morning activity is to lie in bed for some time and just think. Some would say I am being lazy, but my mind is working while my body rests a bit longer.

I think the ideal solution is this. Rise early, reap all those benefits from doing so, take a nap in the middle of the day, and enjoy the late evening as well. The only way to accomplish this, though, is to move to a culture where this is the norm, or retire from regular full time employment.

1 comment:

  1. I too could live a "siesta" life if our culture permitted it!