Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK ‘Early Rising’, Philadephia Public Ledger. here Early Rising. There is a capital anecdote of the reign of Louis XVI of France, according to which some ladies got it into their heads from some book they had been reading, that it must be a glorious thing to see the sun rise. But as that took place in the only hours in which they wore uniformly in bed, what was to be done? After much consideration, it being of course impossible for them to think of rising so early, they resolved to have a party to sit up all night and ride out just before day to the top of a neighbouring hill and witness the strange phenomenon. This was duly performed, the friends then all went to bed, astonished at the degree to which they had ruralized themselves. Daniel Webster, it seems, during many years of his residence in Washington, used to get up an hour before sunrise in winter, light all the fires with his own hands, having a knack at that sort of thing, and then start off to market with a basket on his arm, to purchase himself the daily provisions, gaining afterwards, no doubt, many an hour's march on most of his associates. In New York there has been formed a Young Men's Early Rising Association, all the members of which are pledged to be up at a certain hour. It originated with about a half a dozen young man, who haying kept up this habit for some years, were surprised at its beneficial effects, at the success in life of their associates. A little watchful experience will render this not surprising to any thoughtful man. He who rises at five instead of seven, daily, adds perhaps ten years of the brightest hours to his life of active thought and exertion. Life will be prolonged; health and happiness will be preserved. All other animals but men sleep through the dark hours and wake with the light. The time of all the occupations of the day will be moved forward or backward by the time of rising. The early man takes time by the forelock, and is always beforehand with his competitor and his enemy, anticipates his designs, and has all his affairs arranged so that they cannot be disturbed or molested. Not the breakfast alone but all the meals, and the hours of retiring will be governed by this habit. Such a man will drop to sleep in his chair at nine o'clock. So much the better. Consider the effect on the young man It is at the late hour that bad company becomes most dangerous. Byron abuses the moon as the light beneath which a thousand times more wickedness is done than the sun, and he who at twenty is never out at ten, will find it has saved him a fortune, and earned for him a character before he is forty, of which he may well be proud. Many, a young man in college has been saved from dissipated habits by the ringing of the college bell for prayer at five o'clock After getting up thus early and working hard at study all day. he was glad to get to bed between nine and ten, fairly worn out with honest, hopeful toil, instead of a night of it in idle dissipation. In married life this habit of being early to bed is worth years of life and happiness. The children are never wakeful till they have got through their first sleep. But after that, if a man has got all his repose to get, it will be so often broken as soon to break down. He will become nervous simply for want of sleep - sleep that he would have got from nine to midnight, unbroken, but which he cannot secure after. Intellectually a man can do twice the work while his mind is calm and clear, as it is early in the day, and as it is not and cannot be later. It was before ten o'clock generally that Sir Walter Scott wrote his sixteen pages per day of those novels which are the delight of the civilized world, and it has been before nice o'clock that, in our own city, Dr. Barnes has written these commentaries on the Scriptures of which four hundred thousand volumes have been sold in this country, and as many more in Europe. The very self-denial and self-command indicated and encouraged by this habit is not its least value. He who learns to govern himself in one matter will in others. This passage does not talk about ‘forgoing two hours of sleep’ as Ekirch contends but rather “He who rises at five instead of seven, daily, adds perhaps ten years of the brightest hours to his life of active thought and exertion.” It also talks about going to sleep earlier “Such a man will drop to sleep in his chair at nine o'clock. So much the better.” Note this is also a reference for the ‘Young Men’s Early Rising Association’ that Ekirch mentions on p170 BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018