How to Be Healthy Wealthy and Wise

I’ve come across a lot of articles recently that say good health is tied into the cycles of the sun, or what are known as circadian rhythms. Could it be old Ben Franklin was on to something?

For a long time I’ve been trying to get to bed earlier so that I’ll get up earlier. I really enjoy that quiet time in the morning before there are many cars on the road. I love the stillness and banter of birds at the feeder on my deck. I find I do my best writing and thinking at that time too. An hour can slip by before I notice. It’s a time ripe with endless possibilities as the day awaits stretched ahead of us.

The problem I have is that I go to bed too darn late every night and miss many an awe-inspiring morning. I’m either staying up late to finish an article, watching that hilarious rerun of Seinfeld I’ve seen at least 5x but can’t turn-off, or just checking my email - for the 100th time. In any case, all these critical can’t be missed distractions prevent me from bounding out of bed when the sun rises.

From what I’ve read, artificial light from lamps, televisions and computers cuts into sleep time interfering with our sleep patterns which creates a state of perpetual jet lag. (To read more about this check out When you think about this it makes sense. After all what is jet lag? It’s when our internal body clock, or circadian rhythm, is not synchronized to the time where we’ve traveled. Our biological clock depends on the cues of light and dark to regulate not only sleep but a host of hormones that affect our health. Lack of sleep is also known to be a contributing factor to obesity. One study even showed that workers on prolonged night shift duty had a higher incidence of cancer.

A few weeks ago I managed to get to bed and be up early for 5 consecutive days. I felt better than I had in a long time and got everything accomplished on my to do list energetically and with ease. I thought finally I’d licked the burning the midnight oil habit forever. On the 5th day I had an obligation that kept me out well past my new 10 pm bedtime. In the morning I forced myself out of the bed at sunrise anyway but felt like a zombie all day. There’s nothing like lack of sleep to make you cranky and a mental dullard. The next day I slept a little later and went to bed a little later until after a few days I was back to my old routine of staying up until midnight. But, the memory of how exhilarated I felt at getting up with the sun stayed with me.

I have a number of very good friends who are natural early risers. And, while their eyeballs roll to the back of their heads at around 9:30 pm, I have to admit they are among the most productive people I know. Their houses are always spic and span; you’ll never find a dirty dish in their sink, and the best part is they get up and exercise every morning no matter what even on vacation – and that I truly admire.

In light of all this I’m planning to try my ‘early to bed and early to rise’ experiment again. This time I want it to stick, so I’m going for 30 days - since it takes that long to change a habit. I want to use that time to meditate and exercise and write before I have to start the work day. No more wasting time on self-sabotaging distractions. So, I’m apologizing in advance to anyone who’s with me when my eyeballs roll to the back of my head at 9:30 pm.

4 Responses to “How to Be Healthy Wealthy and Wise”

  1. Vicki Pearson Says:

    O.K., I have been struggling with this same battle all my life! I discovered long ago that I was truly a morning person and did so much better during my day when awoke early after a very good night’s sleep. I have tried to commit to early bed times but I just can’t do it for more than a couple of days. I always feel like I am missing out on something. I also enjoy the end of the day, when all is done and I have a little time to myself. If I go to bed too early the next day seems to come to fast and it all starts over again. So, I wish you luck with your new commitment and if you are able to do it I would like your secret!

  2. Vicki Sola' Says:

    I’ve found that I do my best writing during the earlier part of any day, as opposed to afternoon and evening, when my creative output does not seem to flow as easily. In the latter part of the day, I end up working more on revision of existing material.

    I’ve been a night person for as long as I can remember, doing my best to operate in the world of morning people. And I’m familiar with the concept of staying up late in order to keep the next day from coming!

    However, as I get older, I find — maybe from being forced to conform all these years — that I do feel much better, and function better, when I turn in early and rise early. There’s something really wonderful about beginning the day from the actual beginning, when things are quiet and endless possibilities seem to stretch before me. On such days, I find that I get much more new writing done — I’m much more productive in general –and I feel better physically and emotionally, too.

  3. Angela Says:

    Thanks V & V. I can relate to both your comments. After working all day in my current job, especially when I work late, I find it hard to get to bed early. It’s as if there’s an inner work/life balance tracker that feels somewhat short-changed when we work long hours that’s there to even up the score on time spent in each area. I find myself compulsively trying to ‘catch-up’ with my own projects in the evenings. I too delay turning in early to prolong the day. I guess I would describe it as a feeling of “missing out on something” as well.

    I think there must be an inner clock that ’synchs’ up with the cycles of the sun though. I notice that I feel really feel great when I rise with the sun provided I went to bed early enough to get the right amount of sleep.

    I’m wondering if any of you can relate to staying up too late as a form of self-sabotage toward making headway on your goals? (That’s actually what I meant to write about - but it was late and I wasn’t thinking clearly.)

  4. Vicki Pearson Says:

    I had never really thought about that, but I can see where that could be the case. Certainly I know that when I stay up late I will not feel as peppy in the morning and may even feel lousy. And I know that when I feel lousy that is when I indulge in the kinds of things that make me feel bad about myself, such as the wrong foods, or too much food, or avoiding doing the creative projects that make me feel so wonderful about me such as painting. So, yes, every time I make the decision to stay up late I am risking being less than I want to be. I am choosing to play my game without the rest and strength I need to push myself forward to do what I love to do. I really think this is a struggle between the ego and the Higher Self. The ego is not our friend and will be able to stay in control if it keeps us in a “weakened” state. Very interesting, I never really looked at it that way. Thank you for asking the question!

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