Shalu Wasu | Jan 21, 2010
A google search on early rising gives 1,500,000 results. Amazon has 6699 books on getting up early. Countless self-development ‘gurus’ have written books and articles that extol the benefits of getting up before your friendly neighbourhood rooster does. They have together compiled a list of 10,349 bullet points on why you should get up early and another 14,349 points on how you can make sure you get up early. These methods vary from the mundane to the creative. (My favourite is where you slip in the alarm clock in the underwear of your spouse at night. You are guaranteed to wake up when the alarm rings – I’ve tried it.)
I must admit I am a bit tired of it all. Why should I get up early in the first place? What have I got to prove?
So here are 10 points about why you should stay up late and still not feel bad when you come across another article by the self-help gurus who preach getting up early in the morning!
Why you should stay up LATE!
1. There is nothing ‘natural’ about getting up early in the morning. It perhaps made sense a few hundred years ago when sunlight was the only source of light and you could only get your work done when the sun was shining – so getting up early was required to maximize working time. This argument does not hold anymore – at least in places that have electricity. (If you are reading this, your house/office has electricity).
2. It is a myth that you ‘save time’ by getting up early. Well, each day has 24 hours and if you sleep for 6 hours, you have 18 hours to do everything else, irrespective of when you sleep and when you get up.
3. If you get up early, you’ll need to sleep early. If you sleep early, you miss out on all the exciting stuff that happens late at night! Most people start winding down around 8pm and are off to bed soon after. Most people have 1-2 hours of leisure time in the evening before they sleep. But this amount of time is not really enough to plan anything meaningful. On the other hand if you know that after finishing dinner at 9pm, you still have another 3-4 hours, it just opens up so many possibilities. You can read a book, watch a movie, work or simply talk.
4. Toiling away late into the night while the rest of the world sleeps is such a beautiful feeling! It is so still and quiet.
5. To just look out of your window or balcony at 3 am is such a moving sight. The whole city is bathed in a warm yellow glow, everyone is peacefully asleep, even your noisy neighbour. I would not miss the feeling for anything.
6. Some of the meals that I have enjoyed the most have been the late night snacks that I had while I was studying at IIMA. We used to get very hungry when we studied till late and either we used to cook up something around 3 in the morning or walk down to the NR (night retreat – a late night in-campus restaurant). If you haven’t had a meal at 3 am, you’ve been missing something.
7. There are few things as surreal as a late night jog through an otherwise crowded place (during the day). It is a wonderful feeling to go for a jog around 1 am and just notice the stillness around you. It is amazingly peaceful and you get great ideas as well!
8. I am at my productive best when I work late. There are no distractions, no noise, no school bus to miss, no newspaper headlines to read. Knowing that there is nothing else between now and sleep time except what I am working on right now is a nice feeling.
9. When you sleep late, you will usually get up late and that can be so effective because you will do the boring/usual/essential stuff very quickly indeed. It is so much fun to get ready in a hurry. You find out just how quickly and efficiently you can shave among other things.
10. It is an amazing end to the day if you have been working late and have been able to do some good work. The feeling of satisfaction and contentment that you get as you lie down and close your eyes is not matched by anything else.
So, stop fretting about what time to get up in the morning. Getting up early seems to work for a lot of people, but it is not for everyone. The only way to find out the hours when you are most productive is to experiment. So try getting up early for a few days and try moving to a different pattern every few days. Stick to the one that feels most natural and productive.
Read another point of view here - Addicted to the snooze button?