Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation is taught to keep an early schedule. When children and youth go to bed early and get up early, they are better rested and more ready for a full day of activity. When the rising generation is in bed early, they find less trouble.
Most of us are aware of the statement made by Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Many of us are aware that ancient philosopher Aristotle said the same thing in different words: “It is well to be up before day-break, for such a habit contributes to health, wealth and wisdom.” Do you desire your children to have health, wealth, and wisdom? Then you would be wise to teach them to keep an early schedule.
Prophets and apostles keep an early schedule and have done so for thousands of years. In his article entitled “Filled with Life and Energy,” (Ensign, July 2015, pp.22-25) Randal A. Wright gave several examples and quotes about going to bed early and getting up early. He wrote that “Abraham gat up early in the morning,” “Moses rose up early in the morning,” “Joshua rose early in the morning,” and the Lord began His day early “rising up a great while before day.” Mary was up “early, when it was yet dark” and was rewarded by being the first mortal to see the Resurrected Christ.
Modern scripture contains the Lord’s counsel to us in our day: “Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:124).
Members of the current First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles as well as many other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keep early schedules and testify of the blessings received by doing so. They have life and energy even though they are in their 80s and 90s.
Brother Wright explained that the “connection between sleep patterns and wisdom is not just a theory. A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University looked at the effect of several variables – such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits – on students’ grade point average (GPA). The researchers found that of all the variables, `weekday and weekend wake-up times had the largest relative effects on semester GPA. For each hour of delay in reported average weekday wake-up time, the predicted GPA decreased by 0.132 on a standard 0.00 to 4.00 grading scale…. Each hour of delay in average weekend wake-up time corresponded to a decrease in predicted GPA of 0.115.”
Brother Wright quoted General Authorities on the importance of keeping an early schedule. President Boyd K. Packer, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “I counsel our children to do their critical studying in the early hours of the morning when they’re fresh and alert, rather than to fight physical weariness and mental exhaustion at night. I’ve learned the power of the dictum, `Early to bed, early to rise.’”
Elder Joe J. Christensen, emeritus member of the Seventy, suggested that other blessings come from keeping the Lord’s counsel on sleep: “There must be an excellent reason for the injunction to retire and arise early [see Doctrine and Covenants 88:124]…. The world is a more beautiful place early in the morning. Life is so much more calm. Much more can be accomplished in a shorter amount of time.” Elder Christensen further stated while speaking to students at Brigham Young University, “Some of you are not getting the rest that you need. Some are habituated to going to bed late and sleeping much longer than your system really needs, thus missing out on some of the personal inspiration you could be receiving.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley promised, “If you go to bed at 10:00 and get up by 6:00 a.m., things will work out for you.”
I have known for many years the counsel given by the Lord about going to bed early. I have also known that I receive more inspiration in the early hours and get much more done during the early hours. I have however fallen into bad habits because I live with a night owl who refuses to keep the early schedule. After reading Brother Wright’s article with all the quotes and examples, I am attempting to change my ways.
Change is not easy and usually takes some time to implement. I encourage you to join me in adopting an “early to bed and early to rise” schedule and watch for the promised blessings for following inspired counsel. By making the change ourselves, we can assist the rising generation in doing so and thus strengthen our families, communities, and nations.