Try This Single Practice For More Health, Wealth, and Energy

Filled with Life and Energy

The author lives in Texas, USA. The original article was posted HERE.

What one practice, if followed consistently and with discipline, would help you have better health, energy, and inspiration?
alarm clock

Photograph of clock face bychoness/iStock/Thinkstock

Imagine for a momentthat a friend comes toyou seeking advice onways to receivepersonal revelation. Ifyou could offer only oneidea, what would it be?

As a new GeneralAuthority, ElderMarion G. Romney(1897–1988) feltinadequate in fulfillinghis important calling, sohe sought advice fromhis friend Elder Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) of theQuorum of the Twelve Apostles. The counsel offeredthat day both surprised and motivated Elder Romney.Elder Lee said: “If you are to be successful as a GeneralAuthority, you will need to be inspired. You will need toreceive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Goto bed early and get up early. If you do, your body andmind will become rested and then in the quiet of thoseearly morning hours, you will receive more flashes ofinspiration and insight than at any other time of theday.”

Years later, reflecting back on that experience, then-President Romney said: “From that day on, I put thatcounsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever Ihave a serious problem, or some assignment of acreative nature with which I hope to receive theinfluence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistancein the early morning hours than at any other time of theday.”1

When I first read this account, I too was surprised bythe advice Elder Lee gave. I would never haveconnected an early daily schedule with revelation.However, I now know that there is a direct correlation. Ihave also learned that actions traditionally associatedwith receiving revelation like prayer, scripture study,fasting, temple attendance, and service are greatlyenhanced when I go to bed early and get up early.

Scriptural Examples

Inspired men and women of all ages have followed thisdivine counsel concerning sleep. “Abraham gat up earlyin the morning to the place where he stood before theLord” (Genesis 19:27; emphasis added). Moses rose upearly in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, asthe Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand thetwo tables of stone” (Exodus 34:4; emphasis added).“And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the prieststook up the ark of the Lord” (Joshua 6:12; emphasisadded).

How did the Lord begin His day during His mortalministry? Mark records, “In the morning, rising up agreat while before day, he went out, and departed into asolitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). Mary, adevoted disciple, followed His example and in doing sotaught us a powerful lesson: “The first day of the weekcometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark,unto the sepulchre” (John 20:1). In the early morningshe became the first mortal to see the resurrected Lord.

Blessings of Arising Early

Great leaders in our day also use the early-morninghours to receive revelation. Some time ago I heard amember of the First Quorum of the Seventy mention ina stake conference talk that he was an early riser. Afterthe meeting, I spoke to him briefly about his early-morning ritual, then asked how many of the FirstPresidency and Quorum of the Twelve kept a similarschedule. He replied, “They all do!” It was a powerfulmoment, and the Spirit testified to me that going to bedearly and getting up early can be indeed connected toreceiving revelation.

Additional blessings are pledged to those who followthe Lord’s counsel on sleep. Consider these incrediblepromises: “Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retireto thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early,that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated(D&C 88:124; emphasis added). Invigorate means “to fillwith life and energy.”

The ancient philosopher Aristotle suggested otherbenefits to those who keep an early schedule: “It is wellto be up before day-break, for such a habit contributesto health, wealth and wisdom.”2 Early U.S. statesmanBenjamin Franklin later put that thought into his well-known maxim: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes aman healthy, wealthy, and wise.”3 Most people puthealth, wealth, and wisdom toward the top of thingsmost desired in life.

Health

The average age of a chief executive officer in Americais 55 years old.4 Would it surprise you to discover thatthe CEO of an international organization was a 97-year-old man? What if you also learned that he still traveledthe world giving speeches, training leaders, meetingwith government officials, and being interviewed bymajor media organizations at this advanced age? Whatif his two top VPs were very active 79- and 87-year-olds?And yet that was exactly the situation toward the end ofthe administration of President Gordon B. Hinckley(1910–2008) as President of the Church. It seems likelythat an early schedule, while not the only contributor, isamong the factors leading to the longevity of ourChurch leaders.

Former Brigham Young University president Ernest L.Wilkinson suggested that keeping an early schedule isassociated with health benefits. Referring to PresidentDavid O. McKay (1873–1970), President of the Church atthe time, he said: “One of the great reasons, I am sure,why President McKay has lived to such a good, ripe, andvigorous old age has been the fact that as a young manhe developed habits of retiring to bed early, arisingearly, generally before sun up, when his mind was clearand his body vigorous, to do the day’s work.”5

Connections have also been made between keeping anearly schedule and mental and emotional health. ElderRussell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostleshas said, “To those who feel defeated anddowntrodden, look to the early hours of the day foryour rescue.”6

alarm clocks

Photograph of clock back by perostudio/iStock/Thinkstock

Wisdom

The connection between sleep patterns and wisdom isnot just a theory. A study conducted by researchers atBrigham Young University states: “Students whohabitually go to bed late and sleep late the next dayhave lower grade point averages (GPAs) than studentswith early-to-bed and early-to-rise sleeping habits. Thelater students slept in the morning, the lower theirgrades tended to be. Out of all the factors studied,weekday and weekend wakeup times had the strongestassociation with students’ GPAs. Each hour over theaverage that students slept in on weekdays wasassociated with a 0.13-point drop on the GPA (0.0–4.0scale).”7

Not long ago I surveyed 203 Latter-day Saint collegestudents about their sleep patterns. On average thesestudents awoke at 7:30 a.m. on school days and9:15 a.m. on weekends. Their average bedtime wasmidnight on school nights and 1:00 a.m. on weekends.These students are going directly against the researchconnecting an early schedule with knowledgeacquisition. Perhaps the finding that a higher GPA is theresult of an early schedule is too simple to believe. Havewe become like the children of Israel, who refused tofollow the Lord’s antidote for snakebites “because ofthe simpleness of the way”? (1 Nephi 17:41; see alsoHelaman 8:14–15).

Consider the counsel President Boyd K. Packer,President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gaverelated to gaining wisdom: “I counsel our children to dotheir critical studying in the early hours of the morningwhen they’re fresh and alert, rather than to fightphysical weariness and mental exhaustion at night. I’velearned the power of the dictum, ‘Early to bed, early torise.’”8 Perhaps this is one reason full-time missionariesfollow an early-to-bed and early-to-rise schedule.

Other Blessings

Writing with his wife, Barbara, Elder Joe J. Christensen,emeritus member of the Seventy, suggested even moreblessings to those who follow the Lord’s counsel onsleep: “There must be an excellent reason for theinjunction to retire and arise early [see D&C 88:124]. The world is a more beautiful place early in themorning. Life is so much more calm. Much more can beaccomplished in a shorter amount of time.”9 During afireside address at Brigham Young University, ElderChristensen further stated: “Some of you are not gettingthe rest that you need. Some are habituated to going tobed late and sleeping much longer than your systemreally needs, thus missing out on some of the personalinspiration you could be receiving.”10

President Hinckley added another promise to theobedient: “If you go to bed at 10:00 and get up by6:00 a.m., things will work out for you.”11

Following the Lord’s counsel on sleep may seem like asmall thing, yet “by small means the Lord can bringabout great things” (1 Nephi 16:29). I have a testimonythat following an early schedule brings many blessingsinto our lives, including revelation. It’s amazing howmuch more I get accomplished in a day when I retireearly and arise early. The benefits of this self-disciplinefar exceed the effort required. When we win the firstbattle of the day against the mattress, we are far morelikely to win more battles during the day. We are also more likely to be filled with life and energy.

First Presidency Message: Are We Prepared?

Here is President Monson’s message regarding preparedness:

In the vicinity where I once lived and served, the Church operated a poultry project, staffed primarily by volunteers from the local wards. Most of the time it was an efficiently operated project, supplying to the bishops’ storehouse thousands of fresh eggs and hundreds of pounds of dressed poultry. On a few occasions, however, being volunteer city farmers meant not only blisters on the hands but also frustration of heart and mind.
For instance, I shall ever remember the time we gathered the Aaronic Priesthood young men to give the project a spring-cleaning. Our enthusiastic and energetic throng assembled at the project and in a speedy fashion uprooted, gathered, and burned large quantities of weeds and debris. By the light of the glowing bonfires, we ate hot dogs and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.
However, there was just one disastrous problem. The noise and the fires so disturbed the fragile population of 5,000 laying hens that most of them went into a sudden molt and ceased laying. Thereafter we tolerated a few weeds so that we might produce more eggs.
No member of the Church who has helped provide for those in need ever forgets or regrets the experience. Industry, thrift, self-reliance, and sharing with others are not new to us.
We should remember that the best storehouse system would be for every family in the Church to have a supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, other necessities of life. The Lord’s storehouse includes the time, talents, skills, compassion, consecrated material, and financial means of faithful Church members. These resources are available to the bishop in assisting those in need.
We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.
I repeat what the First Presidency declared a few years ago:
“Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.
“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.”
Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?
We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.