I woke up, stark raving awake, at five o’clock this morning, even though I didn’t go to bed until close to 1 a.m. And now it is after 10 p.m., and although I feel a little slowed down–perhaps even patently stupid–that could just be because I have a head cold.

Lately sleep seems to be an overrated thing. I can’t imagine why I used to love it so much. There was a time in my life when I even considered myself something of a championship recreational sleeper–during those endless decades when the children were small. I fantasized about it, craved it, talked about it nonstop, and was often in danger of falling asleep in the bathtub or while the car was stopped at traffic lights.

But now–ehh. It seems frankly like a big waste of time, a whole desert wasteland of time, actually–when there is a book that wants to get written, and other people’s blogs and books that want to be read, and, yes, even a nice alpaca silk scarf that I am knitting in the event that winter shows up.

Turns out that not sleeping is a pretty good idea, according to a a great blog I found, written by BlogLily. She has discovered an early 20th century self-help book, Arnold Bennett’s How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, and she gets bits of it emailed to herself each day from a service called Daily Lit, which, as she says, will slice up great books for you (the ones that aren’t under copyright anymore and so can be sliced up) and email them to you in tiny, daily packages.

Bennett, back in 1925, believed that the human race sleeps far too much and would be much improved if it would get itself out of bed earlier and get to work improving itself. But according to his research, most people won’t even try to get up at 5 a.m. because there are no servants around at that hour to make them tea.

I must admit that I did notice this morning that there was a distinct lack of people wanting to make my tea for me, and it was disturbing, although not unusual at my house. I could have slept in until nine, and that situation would have remained the same.

And because most of my tens of readers have confessed to me that they refuse to click on the little blue words that mean there’s something good elsewhere for them to read, I am going to re-create what BlogLily said, when she was quoting from Arnold Bennett, so here goes: 

Surely, my dear sir, in an age when an excellent spirit-lamp (including a saucepan) can be bought for less than a shilling, you are not going to allow your highest welfare to depend upon the precarious immediate co-operation of a fellow creature! Instruct the fellow creature [in my case, I suppose this would be my husband], whoever she may be, at night. Tell her to put a tray in a suitable position over night. On that tray two biscuits, a cup and saucer, a box of matches and a spirit-lamp; on the lamp, the saucepan; on the saucepan, the lid– but turned the wrong way up; on the reversed lid, the small teapot, containing a minute quantity of tea leaves. You will then have to strike a match–that is all.

“In three minutes the water boils, and you pour it into the teapot (which is already warm). In three more minutes the tea is infused. You can begin your day while drinking it. These details may seem trivial to the foolish, but to the thoughtful they will not seem trivial. The proper, wise balancing of one’s whole life may depend upon the feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour.”

And now from Blog Lily herself (and you really may want to click on these blue words because it really is a very wonderful site with lots more interesting things to say):

I’d like to repeat this and put it in bold italics because it strikes me as the most important thing I’ve heard yet this year: The proper, wise balancing of one’s whole life may depend upon the feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour.

I am too tired now to offer anything more than a silent, sibilant YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Before my head falls onto the keyboard.