“One of the coolest and wisest hours a man has is just after he awakes in the morning.”


Why can I quote only that sentence from Melville’s Bartleby (besides “I would prefer not to.”). Did its rhythm entrance me? Did its imagery crystallize in my mind? Or did it articulate an observation about the morning infinitely better than Ben Franklin?

Let’s go with the last guess because it is true. The morning rocks. It feels lucid. It is wide open. The long shadows remix the environment. Can the rising sun depress you?

My observations are not time-worn. I sampled the early-rise schedule in late September. Now sleeping through the first light hours saddens me.

The early-rise schedule is psychologically practical. Work from 7 to 10 a.m. and you still have the day ahead. You may also monitor productivity against sunlight, a measure better than numbers. If you work little and the shadows lengthen, you might sharpen your focus.

No metric exists at night. The night is a room, constant black walls lit with constant glaring screens and lights. There exists no intuitive sign that one should work harder, stop work or sleep. Time seems to stop but it does not.

The early-rise attitude belongs in the college campus as much as a penguin in the prairie. For your sleep schedule I encourage not a permanent shift but an experimental dabble. Watch the morning Skyspace show once, or access the servery right when it opens once a week.

A final incentive: A few weeks ago, my father woke my brother quite early for a doctor’s appointment. As the car turned east my brother said, “Look at all the colors!” and my father replied, “That’s the sunrise.”