Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Timothy Flint, The Art of Being Happy: from the French of Droz, ‘Sur l’art d’eˆtre heureuse’. In a Series of Letters from a Father to His Children: with Observations and Comments (Boston, 1832), 217 here  Next to temperance, a quiet conscience, a cheerful mind, and active habits, I place early rising, as a means of health and happiness. I have hardly words for the estimate which I form of that sluggard, male or female, that has formed the habit of wasting the early prime of day in bed. Laying out of the question the positive loss of life, the magna, pars dempta solido de die, and that too of the most inspiring and beautiful part of the day, when all the voices of nature invoke man from his bed ; leaving out of the calculation, that longevity has been almost invariably attended by early rising ; to me, late hours in bed present an index to character, and an omen of the ultimate hopes of the person who indulges in this habit. There is no mark, so clear, of a tendency to self- indulgence. It denotes an inert and feeble mind, infirm of purpose, and  incapable of that elastic vigor of will which enables the possessor always to accomplish what his reason ordains. The subject of this unfortunate habit cannot but have felt self-reproach, and a purpose to spring from his repose with the freshness of the dawn. If the mere indolent luxury of another hour of languid indulgence is allowed to carry it over this better purpose, it argues a general weakness of character, which promises no high attainment or distinction. Despite what Ekirch contends this passage does not say that early rising is “most critical to personal happiness” this is another instance of Ekirch using poetic licence rather then quoting the actual text which merely says that “Next to temperance, a quiet conscience, a cheerful mind, and active habits, I place early rising, as a means of health and happiness.” Thomas A. Horrocks, ‘‘The Poor Man’s Riches, the Rich Man’s Bliss’’: Regimen, Reform, and the Journal of Health, 1829–1833’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, cxxxix (1995); here "The popular maxim 'early to bed and early to rise,"noted the editors,"is one that should be rigidly observed by every individual.’ ''The journal's editorials denounced the keeping of late hours, sleeping during the day, and indolence in general as dangerous to one's health. This passage does not mention ‘personal happiness’ and indeed I cannot see its relevance to the point Ekirch is trying to make. BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018