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Dolly Parton’s Mornings Start at 3AM: ‘I Just Feel Like a Farmer’

Terry Wyatt, Getty Images

Dolly Parton is a morning person.

The legendary country artist made that much clear in a recent interview with fellow pop culture fixture RuPaul. As Parton explains to the RuPaul’s Drag Race host, she typically begins her days at the unlit hour of 3AM. Why? Well, it’s because that’s when she can get the most work done.

“I don’t require a lot of sleep,” Parton says in the Marie Claire chat between the two icons that emerged last week (Dec. 7). “Three to five hours I can work on. Five hours I like to get. But usually I’m between three and five. But usually, if I’m on the job, I’ll take a little power nap.”

On that note, the entertainer behind this season’s A Holly Dolly Christmas and Christmas on the Square says she’s “almost always up for good around 3AM.” And once she’s up, she’s either praying, writing or working.

“I do some of my best spiritual work, some of my best writing, and some of my business work — call-ins and letters that I’m writing or whatever — between 3AM and 7AM,” Parton says.

She continues, “I get more work done during that little period of time when the world is calm, energies are down, and I just feel like a farmer. I think God is a farmer. He’s getting out and he’s throwing down all these little nuggets of corn. … They say the early bird gets the worm. Well, they also get a lot of good ideas too.”

But back to those power naps: Parton described getting fitful nights of sleep — still, she doesn’t just lie there once she’s roused. Later in the day, however, if she’s feeling depleted, she’ll grab some shut-eye.

“I go to bed pretty early, but I’m up and down,” Parton remarks. “If I wake up and I’m pretty well awake, I think, ‘I’ve got so much to do,’ I’ll get up and I’ll work a little while, write a little while, and I’ll lay back down.”

Parton will still often grab a morning breakfast with her husband of more than 50 years, Carl Dean, though she can’t always have what he’s having. On the day of the interview, Parton made “sausage patties, and I baked some biscuits, and I made some milk gravy. He likes that once in a while. Now, I can’t eat like that all the time, but I enjoy eating it when I do.”

But perhaps one part of Dolly’s mornings is most important of all.

“Every single day, before I do anything, I wake up and I thank God for the night and ask him to bless the day and to bring all the right things,” she says. “All the wrong people out of my life, and bring all the right stuff in. And just to guide me, lead me. And I always pray that he’ll let me uplift mankind and glorify Him.”

All in all, Parton’s morning routine is surely indicative of one who’s achieved a great deal over a long and prosperous career. Whether that’s funding coronavirus vaccine research, saving a little girl’s life or making albums and movies in between, Parton has certainly got her schedule down to a science.

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