Wise parents strengthen their families, communities, and nations by teaching their children to arise early. These parents know the truthfulness of the adage “The early bird gets the worm.” Our children may not like worms, but they can become successful by learning to appreciate the early morning hours.
I understand the differences between early birds and night owls because I am an early bird, and my husband is a night owl. Whenever I attempt to live on his schedule, my life turns up-side-down, and I eventually return to my own schedule. I like the early morning hours while my husband insists that his body does not function well until mid-day. I like to go to bed early while he is more nocturnal. These differences have presented great challenges in our marriage, particularly after retirement. I have learned to quietly slip out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and complete quiet tasks until he awakes later.
Nothing I can say can change his thinking process, but he may believe an article put out by the American Association for Retired People (AARP) who published a study about early birds and night owls. http://blog.aarp.org/2012/06/18/are-morning-people-happier-healthier-than-night-owls/ Renee Bliss of the University of Toronto led “the team of researchers who studied two groups: 435 adults ages 17 to 38, and 297 older adults, ages 59 to 79. Both groups filled out questionnaires about their emotions, how healthy they felt, and their preferred `time of day.’
“By age 60, nearly all the participants described themselves as `morning types.’ Only 7 percent said they were night owls. Compare that to young people where the percentage was reversed – only seven percent said they preferred the morning.
“`We found that older adults reported greater positive emotion than younger adults, and older adults were more likely to be morning-type people than younger adults,’ Bliss said. `The “morningness’ was associated with greater happiness emotions in both age groups.’
“The morning people also tended to say they felt healthier than did night owls, Bliss reported.
“This could be because they were getting better quality sleep – in other words, their bodies were more in sync with the natural rhythm of the day, unlike the night owls who spent a lot of their daylight hours wishing they were asleep.
“As Bliss noted, `Society’s expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person’s schedule.’”
Happiness is my greatest desire for my husband and me as well as for each of our children and grandchildren. I love the early morning hours and have diligently tried to convince my family how wonderful they are. Some members of the family have learned to take advantage of the morning hours to do their running and other activities while others prefer to sleep longer. I have noticed, however, that my children insist that their children keep a regular bedtime schedule. Most of them are teaching their children to sleep at night so they can enjoy the daylight hours. I know by personal experience that our families, communities, and nations are happier and stronger when we all get quality sleep in sync with the natural rhythm of the day.