The great advantage of early rising is the good start it gives us in our day’s work. The early riser has done a large amount of hard work before other men have got out of bed. In the early morning the mind is fresh, and there are few sounds or other distractions, so that work done at that time is generally well done.
In many cases the early riser also finds time to take some exercise in the fresh morning air, and this exercise supplies him a fund of energy that will lost until the evening. By beginning so early, he knows that he has plenty of time to do thoroughly all the work he can be expected to do, and is not tempted to hurry over any part of it. All his work being finished in good time, he has a long interval of rest in the evening before the timely hour when he goes to bed. He gets to sleep several hours before midnight, at the time when sleep is most refreshing and after a sound night’s rest, rises early next morning in good health and spirits for the labours of a new day.
It is very plain that such a life as this is far more conducive to health than that of the man who shortenes his waking hours by rising late, and so can afford in the course of the day little leisure for necessary rest. Any one who lies in bed late, must, if he wishes to do a full day’s work, go on working to a correspondingly late hour, and deny himself the hour or two of evening exercise that he ought to take for the benefit of his health. But in spite of all his efforts, he will probably produce as good results as the early riser, because he misses the best working hours of the day.
It may be objected to this that some find the perfect quiet of midnight by far the best time for working. This is no doubt true in certain cases. Several great thinkers have found by experience that their intellect is clearest, and they can write best, when they burn the midnight oil. But even in such cases the practice of working late at night cannot be commended. Few men, if any, can exert the full power of their intellect at the time when nature prescribes sleep, without ruining their health thereby; and of course the injury done to the health must in the long run have a bad effect on the quantity of the work done.