This week I’m writing a few of health’s principles. A principle is an enduring truth; something that was true 100 years ago, that still applies today, and will be both true and applicable in 100 years from now.
On the farm, you have the law of the harvest: I must prepare the ground, put in the seed, cultivate, weed, and water if I expect to reap a harvest. If I follow this principle, I’m guaranteed a harvest.
In terms of sleep, these principles are going to bed early and waking up early.
If tomorrow has a big test, a long road trip, or a championship game, what advice do you usually receive?
For me, my parents would always say to me growing up, “Go to bed early so you can get your rest tonight.”
There’s wisdom to the order of that phrase: Go to bed early so you can get your rest tonight. Centuries of human life have taught us that going to bed early helps you get a full night’s sleep.
Therefore, the “harvest” of regularly going to bed early is energy. No caffeine can mimic that of a good night sleep.
And the science backs this up. Your body prioritizes NREM sleep earlier in the night. The NREM stage is responsible for repairing and healing your body. Surprisingly, however, your body will just eliminate most of the NREM stage if you go to bed late.
If you want to move with more energy and less pain, go to bed early.
The quiet stillness only present in the early hours of the morning are revelatory. Perhaps this is why many authors recommend waking up early to read and write alone.
The past few decades of sleep science has taught us that REM sleep is vital to your brain’s health. The bulk of REM sleep occurs in the wee hours of the morning. In other words, sleeping past 10:00 a.m. won’t help you gain any additional REM cycles.
Because this stage is when your ideas and skills acquired during the day are cemented as memories, it improves your mind. REM sleep is fuel to your brain.
My grandpa has always said that he would rather have a sound mind then a strong body. If you desire a sound mind, wake up early.
Go to bed early so you can have energy.
Wake up early so your mind can be invigorated.