This is When Successful People Wake Up

By now you have likely heard that successful people are notorious early risers.

In fact, some studies have shown that 90% of executives wake up before 6am on weekdays, and nearly 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before their workday actually begins.

But is this really the case?

I went in search of the wake-up times of today’s most successful people, both young and old, and from a range of different industries.

Here is what I found (in order of wake-up time, earliest to latest):

So while there are outliers on both ends, it does appear as though most of today’s top business leaders are up and at ’em by 7am (and almost certainly by 8am).

While energy levels and work conditions are unique to every individual, early mornings seem to be so popular because they enable you to get a head start on the day before distractions and obligations arise.

Attacking the day on your own terms first-thing also gives you a sense of control in your life. Early morning hours enable you to play offense, instead of being reactive to emails, calls, meetings, and other demands on your time.

It has also been shown that even if you aren’t a morning person, willpower is highest in the morning, which leads to better decision-making. It can be much more difficult to make productive and healthy choices late in the day when your mind is fatigued.

And perhaps most importantly, mornings give you the opportunity to set the tone for the day. Accomplishing something right away — whether that’s clearing out your inbox, exercising, or eating a nutritious breakfast — sets off a chain reaction of other productive behavior throughout the day.

Those are just some of the reasons why early mornings seem to provide a competitive advantage for the most successful people.

There are certainly plenty of examples of accomplished night owls, but there is no denying that most people today do not have the luxury of sleeping in. Therefore, waking up early has become almost a necessity in today’s fast-paced business world.

I am not a natural morning person, and have found the only way to make an early wake-up call tolerable is to get the recommended 7–8 hours of sleep and go to bed by 10pm.

Even with a full night of sleep, my mind is still foggy until I finish my morning run and have a cup of coffee.

But with proper rest, exercise, and coffee, I have actually come to enjoy mornings and undoubtedly recognize the business advantages of waking early.

Perhaps the dynamics of a “normal” business day will shift and become more personalized in the years to come, but for now success seems to favor the early-risers.

Just ask Tim Cook or The Rock.

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Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and connect with him on Twitter.