Blue light has a higher frequency than red light. So when the sun is approaching us in the morning, it has a blue shift as described by the Doppler effect; when it is receding it has a red shift. This is analogous to the sound of a siren that rises in pitch as it approaches us and falls in pitch after it passes and moves away from us. The energy of the sun has an undeniable effect on everything on the planet, an effect that we feel deeply when over exposed or under exposed. I think this Doppler effect explains the difference in our experience of time in the morning and in the afternoon. The morning goes by so quickly and we are able to accomplish a lot. The afternoon feels like it drags. The sound of a receding propeller airplane as it drones through a hot afternoon sky captures the internal feeling we experience in the red shifted light of the receding sun.
So when we wake up early and take full advantage of the blue shifted energy coming from the sun, we experience a sense of accomplishment, of achievement. But if we wake up late, miss the morning, and try to work in the afternoon, we experience a drag, an inability to produce, a frustrating feeling that we are pushing against the current. The importance of riding the blue shifted light energy is captured in sayings like “the early bird gets the worm.” We are not the only ones to experience the blue shifted energy. Birds and animals seem to sense its arrival an hour or an hour and a half before sunrise. They wake up and begin singing or crowing. That sound in the early morning of the birds singing in a chorus of joy, while most of humanity is in slumber, is the most peaceful and energizing experiences in life. Being on the threshold of a new day, with all its promise, and the excitement and impulse of the blue shifted light gives us a sense of thrill and a determination to be productive. It is a very different experience than being on the threshold of night, at sunset. The sunset is also beautiful, but for entirely different reasons. It is a time of resting and lying back and enjoying life.
There is a renewed sense of energy in the late night, and I wonder if that is due to the beginning of the sun’s approach toward us after it reaches its zenith on the other side of the planet. Students often only begin to be productive at that point. However, I believe that that energy is best used by the body in rest. Nighttime is a time to restore and, though we are asleep, the body is active in repairing the damage done throughout the day by stress, poor diet, and simply the processes of living. When we use this energy to try to be productive, we rob ourselves of the true benefits of deep restorative sleep. We wear ourselves out by fighting the red-shifted current all afternoon and evening, and if we go to bed late because we are using the blue shifted late night energy, we make ourselves unable to wake up or too tired to enjoy the blue shifted flow of the approaching sun in the morning. It becomes a vicious circle.
So break the pattern. Go with the flow of energy. Go to bed early. Wake up early and accomplish a lot, riding the blue shifted wave of the sun. Then relax more in afternoon and evening. Stop fighting the ebbing flow of energy. Meditate, stretch, restore, have some tea. These are the natural rhythms of life; and the great musician learns to keep the flow of time.