Dubai Diaries: I'm a night bird and proud of it
What’s magical about the early morning hours that can’t be done in late-night hours?
Across time and cultures, there are legions of advocates for waking up early. We all have been told more than once that “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” It is drummed into the head of every schoolchild. India’s PM Narendra Modi, known to be a workaholic among his fans, too crooned - “Early in the morning, the mind is as fresh as the sky after rain.”
It’s easy to see why management gurus and motivational speakers all urge us to wake up early. If Apple’s Tim Cook (3:45am wake-up call) and former US First Lady Michelle Obama (in the gym by 4:30am every morning) are doing it, who can deny that it’s the right thing to do? If you are awake to greet the sun in Dubai, the morning streets are abuzz with the 6:30am buses picking up bleary-eyed schoolkids in their pressed uniforms on their way to top private schools.
Successful parents want successful kids, and success begins every day before dawn. Or so we are told. But to wake up early, you have to go to bed early. We hear sermons about the necessity of getting eight hours of sleep as regularly as lectures about waking up early. Simple math tells us that a 5am wakeup call means resigning from the world by 9pm. Or stretch it an extra hour to 10pm. But I have been a colossal failure at that. 10pm is when I usually say ‘Hi’ to life. My unadulterated ‘I, me, and myself’ time begins when other successful people hit the sack.
There is no doubt I want to be super successful. I’d love to wake up early. I’d love to sip my tea, review world headlines, read a book, reply to emails, and check a few pending tasks off my list as the sun slowly emerges in the East. But why shouldn’t I do all of that in the evening?
What’s magical about the early morning hours that can’t be done in late-night hours? I’m not out partying at 10pm, at least not anymore; those days are behind me. Instead, I find that I get some of my best thinking, writing, and work done in the late hours of the night, occasionally slipping into the early hours of the morning.
There’s something else the morning birds miss out on, too. Think about every life-changing conversation you’ve had. Think about the warmest, most emotional moments of your life. Think about the book you read that moved you to tears. How many of those took place at 4:30am?
The night is when we settle into our best selves, whether it is through burning the midnight oil over work or burning the midnight shisha with our best friend. Ever tried to watch Game of Thrones at 5am? I’m trying to imagine digesting the Red Wedding with my morning eggs, and neither of them are sitting well.