I’ve found multiple instances of proverbial statements recommending early bedtimes and early wake times. The most famous is probably: “The early bird gets the worm.” Here’s another: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
The Bible commends the wise woman in Proverbs 31: “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” We’re also told that Jesus would pray in the early morning: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
George Herbert’s collection of proverbs has this one: “One hour’s sleep before midnight is worth three after.”
So far, I haven’t found any counterexamples–which isn’t to say that there aren’t any. Indeed, from the worm’s point of view–getting up early is a bad idea if the birds are hunting. The invention of electricity certainly changed our options for how productive we can be once the sun sets–perhaps our wise sayings simply haven’t caught up?
Leaders I trust recommend figuring out when your most productive hours of the day are–and planning your day accordingly. Some are famously night owls. Good on them. I’m not in their number.
At some point in graduate school, when up against a major deadline, I figured out that working late into the night was not working. So, instead of studying until the wee hours, I went to bed at my normal time and set an early alarm. After a jolt of coffee, It felt like it was six (not three), and I was ready to do much more productive writing or studying. Wished I had known this trick in college. Though, I’m not sure my roommates would have approved.