Now when this quote was written, farming was probably still the primary lifestyle for most Americans, so some would say this has no relationship to modern society.
Certainly, it is hard to consider this quote practical in the internet era when it is so easy to spend hours and hours surfing the web or to keep up with Face Book and other social media sites.
What about prime time TV? The best television shows are scheduled at times when going to bed early would cause you to miss them. Who wants to do that?
What would happen if “prime time TV” was replaced with “prime time sleep”?
But what are the key elements of the quote worth noting.
“Healthy” is listed as the first outcome of going to bed early and rising early.
Is this something that you do?
I certainly don’t, but in a way, I wish that I did. Sleep deprivation was a rite of passage to go through the internship as part of post graduate training. Call schedules were structured so that many shifts would last for 36 or 40 hours straight with no sleep.
Many college students and other professionals pull “all-nighters” to cram and study for exams or meet deadlines for projects due at work, etc. so that going to bed early is totally out of the question.
Why don’t we go to bed early?
For some, the evening time is spent trying to do all of the things that get put on hold as a consequence of the time spent at work every day.
For others, the evenings are spent doing school work to try and get ahead and create better career options.
For the self-employed or individuals who own businesses, you usually have at least 48 hours of work to do for every 24 hours available in a day, so going to bed early is a foreign concept based upon your reality.
We could find many, many more scenarios that are counter to Benjamin Franklin’s advice to go to bed early.
Now, I think that you and I both know that even though most of us don’t go to bed early, we many times rise early, even if it means that you did not get enough sleep.
So, does “late to bed and early to rise” give the same result as early to bed and “early to rise”? Apparently it does not.
Scientific studies have proven that at least 7 hours of sleep are needed on a nightly basis for the bodies’ metabolic processes to rebalance themselves; otherwise weight gain can take place no matter how much a person diets or exercises.
Since up to two thirds of Americans now have BMI’s that qualify as overweight or obese, what percentage of these individuals do you think get adequate sleep? Is our habit of enjoying late night entertainment and getting up early pushing our health to the side?
Another paradoxical problem that occurs with weight gain is that a critical point can be reached that the extra soft tissue present in the neck area can create a situation that causes airway obstruction while asleep. This condition called sleep apnea is a major risk factor for cardiac or respiratory arrest.
So, if staying up late and getting up early leads to weight gain and weight gain leads to difficulty with sleep and decreased oxygen getting to the body during sleep, then early to bed and early to rise becomes even more valuable.
My question to you is this. Do you go to bed early and do you get adequate sleep?
If the answer is no, then do yourself a favor and explore making some changes in your lifestyle that will allow you to better balance the time you set aside for sleep.
Commit to your new schedule for the next 30 days and see what a difference it makes in your life.
If you have too many things going on in your life to make these adjustments, then take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle and on one side put your health and on the other side write down all of the things that keep you from getting adequate sleep. Next give each item a priority of 1 to 5 in terms of importance with 5 being the most important and decide which are worth trading for poorer health. This should give you more clarity in terms of being able to set time aside for yourself.
I have only tried to get you to focus more on being healthy as a consequence of getting adequate sleep, but I am sure that if wealth and wisdom follow, you will not be disappointed.