Stop Slapping Snooze

Singer James Taylor composed and sang an interesting song about a night owl (a social person of the night who sleeps by day). Web search the lyrics of “Sunny Skies.”

While some folks are compelled to earn their living by working at night, mostly, playing all night is a choice that has become a habit. Benjamin Franklin would not approve of it. One of his common sense proverbs was, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Likely, Franklin borrowed his advice from the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, he said us much about that. Sunlight provides us with essential vitamin D. Getting up to move about is exercise of the body and mind. In other words, it is healthy to be up and about while most of humanity is also about. We can socialize more freely, and we can conduct business. Thus, by being up during daylight hours, we are most productive.

By conducting business during the day, we have a chance to build our wealth. But, where does Franklin’s “wise” comment come into play? He might mean that one is more likely to be hired into a journeyman position, where he or she might earn a trade to become a sought after expert in that trade. Franklin may have made a social comment. Those who are missing socially tend to be the ones who are talked about. If the majority of folks in a society talk about your nocturnal wanderings, how will you know that you are the subject of slander and ridicule if you are not awake to hear it?

Art tends to cast the dark of night as a time of mischief and even evil. It should come as no surprise to you that thieves and worse, cloak their privations in darkness. They are not proud of what they do, nor do they wish to have consequences by doing it. So, their work tends be done at night. Franklin’s advice is to not be up and about when these seedy folk are awake. Yet, carousing at night, the sneaking around, the being too loud at a party, the doing of naughty things are also associated with staying up late, and this behavior appeals sexually as well as socially to many people. The implication is that if you wish to be with a sinful person, stay up late at night when you can find more of them and not necessarily be seen with them.

But, these are harsh judgments to lay on the vast majority of people who stay up too late simply because they have so much to do, or because they are hopelessly disorganized. Many people do get up early, work all day, return to their families to work about the house, take care of family needs, and then find themselves staying up late to help their child with homework, to nurse a sick family member, to listen to an upset parent, brother, sister, or friend in a late telephone call, or some other valid reason to miss sleep. Can we blame these responsible, yet overworked people who resist sunrise? No. But, we can admonish them. When they give up at the beginning of a day, they shift their habit of regular, adequate sleep. Their next sleep cycle will be off, and harder to correct. Stop slapping snooze! Be the hero, and seize the heroic moment! Get up.