Have you ever noticed that 4am is the one hour of the day that is most commonly associated with mishaps? Ted speaker Rives certainly has and in his eight minute Ted talk “The 4 a.m. mystery” Rives gives us some insight behind this enigma.
The 4 a.m. shorthand
Song lyrics, movies, authors, conversationalist and society must have all unanimously decided that 4 a.m would be shorthand for “inconveniences, mishaps and yearnings” says Rives. “For a time that I find to be the most placid and uneventful hour of the day, four in the morning sure gets an awful lot of bad press”
When did this begin?
Rives backs up this claim with a number of examples, comic strips, historical events, paintings and even a clip of The Simpsons all depicting four in the morning as this horrible time to be awake. It really is fascinating when you actually think how often 4 a.m. is used to reference bad things.
Rives also goes on to explain what he calls the The Giacometti Code and how he thinks this is what tainted the 4 a.m image to begin with back in 1932. I won’t explain the The Giacometti Code further as I couldn’t do justice to the way Rives explains it, so you will have to hit play to hear it for yourself.
Okay so if 4 a.m. has such a bad rap, why not just rebrand it to something more pleasant? Why can’t 4 a.m. in the morning be the time we can eat as much desert as we want and not be judged? Why can’t 4 a.m. be the time of the day that we can watch that corny TV show that we swore we never watch but secretly can’t get enough of.
My “horrible” 4 a.m.
I stumbled upon Rives’s Ted talk on the exact same day I realised (and complained) that for the past week I have been going to bed at 4 a.m. each night as I have been too busy too sleep. It’s a terrible habit and I should know better. I swore after watching Arianna Huffington’s Ted talk “ How to succeed? Get more sleep.” that I would not be awake at the “horrible” hour of 4 a.m I even kept a sleep diary and it worked for a long time, but now being too busy catching up on things, I am back to being sleep deprived at 4 a.m. in the morning.
I know I need to stop staying awake to 4 a.m. every night. Frankly, it chews up the next day for me as I end up walking around in a zombie like state and to be honest I am not pleasant to be around when I’m sleepy. Wouldn’t it be great though if I could rebrand the zombie-like after effects of going to sleep at 4 a.m. to something positive? No idea what that would be though, if you have any ideas drop me a suggestion in the comment box below.
If you haven’t watch Rives’s Ted talk I suggest doing so. It really is a fascinating look into 4 a.m. I also suggest checking out his website Four in the Morning for more memes, videos and comic strips referencing, you guessed it, 4 a.m.