“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have,” said the American novelist Daniel Handler. Are you a morning person? Do you leap out of bed as the cockerel clears his throat at the crack of dawn or do you prefer to hit the snooze button and spend another 15 minutes in your warm bed? Do you rise and go to sleep to the pattern of the sun? Rise and shine, it’s the early bird that catches the worm.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” - Benjamin Franklin. Apparently the most successful businesspeople are early risers. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, all love to get up extremely early in the day. Setting your alarm clock for an hour or two earlier might also help you climb up the career ladder. Studies have shown that employees perform with more concentration and focus in the morning.
I have to admit that my bed is a difficult place to leave in the morning. In fact, my sleep pattern tends to be connected to the seasons, well to be more precise the sun. In the black of winter I avoid jumping out of bed before 7.00am but in the bright glow of summer then I quite enjoy rolling out of bed at 6.00am. And my biggest pleasure of the day is a cup of coffee in bed. Yes, every morning for the past 35 years I have had a cup of coffee in bed, wherever I am in the world I’ll always have a mug of caffeine in bed, my ten minutes of morning zen. It’s like my guilty pleasure and quite possibly something that I adopted from my mother. I simply can’t imagine life without this early morning ritual.
And as I’ve gotten older so my sleeping patterns have changed. Like most when I was at school I hated leaving the warm grip of my bed and would have to set two alarms to blast me out of bed. But then my mother-in-law gets up so early that the moon is still shining. Maybe she is a vampire (sorry).
But I still can’t really understand this sleeping in the afternoon, the popular fjaka or siesta. I can kind of understand why people catch a nap in the afternoon when it’s the height of summer and the sun drains you of all energy. But why people crash on the couch in the winter is still beyond me. Don’t get me wrong I have tried to nap in the afternoon, and sometimes in summer I still will, but never in the winter. If 7 hours of sleep a day is enough for the human body why do we need to top it up with an hour in the afternoon, especially in the winter.
Famously Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister would insist of having only 4 hours of sleep a night, so that she could spend more time “running the country.”
My wife quite regularly reminds of a so called “quiet time” that seems to be non-existent now. A time in the afternoon, from 2 to 4 when children weren’t supposed to play outside or make lots of noise so that the whole neighbourhood could nap. In fact, I even remember this time when I first arrived 20 years ago. This quiet time has died somewhat. Of course it could be due to the fact that children are all playing on their mobile phones or computers these days rather than kicking a football around or making a camp in the trees. There’s no need for quiet time when the next generation is fixated to starring at a screen, in fact they are having their own quiet time.
To be honest I have never been much of a night owl, even when I was younger. My body clock switches off somewhere after The News. Which means getting up early is a breeze. I love watching the sunrise, even more than the sunset. There is something spiritual about the break of a new day. “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom” – Aristotle. And he is right.