Is 4 AM The Most Productive Time Of Day?

Photo: Getty Images.
The early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes. But what about the really, really early bird — like the one who's getting up before the night owls even go to sleep? In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal profiled a number of people who swear by their morning routine of getting up at 4 a.m.

While that might sound like the schedule of a workaholic (or maybe a farmer, or U.S. president) the people in the article swear it's not necessarily an insane workload that inspires the schedule. These crazy-early risers enjoy the solitude at 4 a.m. and find the lack of distractions can boost productivity.

"No one is expecting you to email or answer the phone at 4 a.m. No one will be posting on Facebook. You’ve removed the internal temptation and the external temptation," psychologist Dr. Josh Davis explains. On the flip side, however? Many of those profiled are in bed, exhausted, as early as 8:30 p.m.

The tips these extreme morning people share for staying on schedule? Everything from sleeping in your gym clothes (then, just slip on your running shoes and you're ready to go!) to keeping a coffee maker programmed to start brewing at 3:45 a.m. One thing career coach Lauren Milligan recommends, though, is scheduling emails to go out a bit later — the world isn't ready for the pre-sunrise crowd, and people might find it off-putting to get an email before 7 a.m.

It's not all blissful quiet, however. The early risers report missing out on social events with friends, and occasionally feeling lonely in the pre-dawn hours. Still, it sounds tempting — though probably downright impossible for some of us, considering this night owl might just be flicking off the bedroom light at 2 a.m., hours before the alarms of the 4 a.m. risers are set to ring.
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