You don't have to wake up early to be successful just because someone like Apple CEO Tim Cook is up at 3:45 a.m. But many high-profile and highly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs do rise at the crack of dawn — or earlier — to get a head start on their busy schedules.
The majority of successful business leaders get up no later than 6 a.m., according to a new survey of CEOs from Inc. magazine's latest ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, published on Thursday, found that 64% wake up by 6 a.m., or earlier. Nearly 9 out of 10 of the CEOs surveyed rise no later than 7 a.m.
Specifically, here are the survey's most popular wake-up times:
- 6 a.m. (37% of respondents)
- 5 a.m. (27%)
- 7 a.m. (22%)
- 8 a.m. (5%)
- 4 a.m. or earlier (5%)
Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk says he's unsurprised: Mornings may be one of the few quiet periods on any CEO's daily schedule.
"Mornings in particular prove to be, for a lot of the entrepreneurs I talk to, the time that allows them to focus," Omelianuk tells CNBC Make It, adding: "There's this moment of quiet, where you can focus on the issues of the day, whether that's making a list or thinking through a problem strategically. But it's that time when they can actually think for themselves before everything that derails the perfect day starts to happen."
Is the time to focus worth sacrificing sleep?
Sleep scientists are adamant that humans need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, no matter how early you need to wake up for work. Getting a proper night's sleep can improve your physical and mental health, while even making you more productive. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he always shoots for eight hours of shut-eye, because it gives him energy and helps him "think better."
Some experts do argue that humans tend to be more productive in the wee early hours of the morning, simply because there are fewer distractions at those times. That's the sentiment Tim Cook has shared in the past to explain his own early-rising habit.
"I can control the morning better than the evening and through the day," the Apple CEO said in a 2021 interview. "Things happen through the day that kind of blow you off course."
Omelianuk notes that the average business leader may not be afforded the luxury of sleep in the first place: Especially at startups and small businesses, CEOs might not have the budget for a support staff, making them all the more overworked as they attempt to regularly tackle their long list of responsibilities.
"Entrepreneurs don't get enough sleep, in general," he says.
Find a routine that works
Some CEOs and business owners like to use their mornings as uninterrupted work hours. For example, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he typically looks over "critical emails" for half an hour upon first waking up — though that's a habit he now says he's trying to replace.
Others prioritize wellness. Cook splits his mornings between reading user comments about Apple products and working out at the gym: An early workout "keeps my stress at bay," he told HBO's "Axios on HBO" in 2018.
Science supports the sentiment: Psychologist Joel Dvoskin recently told CNBC Make It that humans can improve productivity and mental health by enjoying some quiet time in the early morning, and engaging in physical activity before work.
That's especially important for CEOs, many of whom are concerned about the potential toll running a business can take on their mental health.
When listing their biggest concerns as entrepreneurs, 46% of the 1,086 CEOs responding to Inc.'s survey cited "fear of failure." Large portions also expressed concern over the mental health risks associated with running a business, with 43% pointing to "exacerbated anxiety" and 15% citing an increased risk of depression among founders.
Omelianuk says it's actually s a good sign that so many CEOs feel comfortable identifying mental health as a concern, considering the existing stigma around it. The early wakeups, he says, may even have something to do with finding ways to manage the stress of their jobs.
"It's just a matter of establishing routine," he says. "And for a lot of founders, that is the only time when they get to have a routine."
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Why do successful people wake up before 6? ›
Many successful people wake up early so that they are able to use undisturbed time to do stuff for themselves. Waking up early is great for getting organized, strategic thinking, and planning. Additionally, getting to the office first means fewer distractions from colleagues.What time do the most successful people wake up in the morning? ›
They get up early
Almost without exception, successful people start their day early. Many say they get up between 5 am and 6 am. Rising early is particularly great for those who work from home or have small children, because they can accomplish work tasks without interruption.
The one thing most CEOs have in common is that they don't fall out of bed and rush into the office. They set aside time to workout, get up to date with world news, or set personal goals so that when it's time to get up and go, they feel refreshed and ready.Why is waking up early important for success? ›
Early risers tend to have better problem-solving skills, resulting in better performance in education, and high-paying jobs. There's a big link between waking up earlier and increased productivity. Many early risers take advantage of their mornings by setting goals and planning for the day.Why is 6am the best time to wake up? ›
6am is the perfect time to wake up in the morning. You have enough time to get ready for your day without feeling rushed, and you can still enjoy a peaceful morning. If you're not a morning person, it can be tough to wake up early. But with a few simple tips, you can make it happen.What are the benefits of waking up at 6 am? ›
- More time for yourself. ...
- More time to exercise. ...
- Less time in traffic. ...
- More time to get things done. ...
- Better sleep … ...
- … which can mean more energy. ...
- Healthier skin. ...
- Fewer dark circles.
- Commit to a ritual. ...
- Clear your head. ...
- Sweat. ...
- Practice gratitude. ...
- Rise with the sun (or even before it) ...
- Read a book. ...
- Journal. ...
- Drink water.
“If you count the time I'm in the office, it's probably no more than 50-60 hours a week. But if you count all the time I'm focused on our mission, that's basically my whole life.” On a typical day, Zuckerberg wakes up at 8am and starts scrolling through Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp right away.What do billionaires do first thing in the morning? ›
Every morning routine of billionaires has one thing in common — time dedicated to meditating and reflecting. It may seem a little froufrou, but it really does help you get into a mental state of calmness where you can redirect your thoughts toward the day.Why early morning is more productive? ›
Studies suggest that working in the morning is better for productivity because, in general, we tend to wake up in better spirits than later on in the day. The morning is the best time to follow routines and stick to schedules because there are fewer distractions.
Does waking up earlier make you more productive? ›
But here's the problem: the research shows that your wakeup time does not impact your productivity. In fact, there is zero difference in socioeconomic standing between someone who wakes up early and someone who wakes up late.Why is early morning important? ›
Balance your mental health- Research has proven that those who wake up early have shown better mental health symptoms. They are optimistic, satisfied and feel positive about situations. It also lowers the chance of mental illnesses which is usually found in those who go to sleep late and wake up late.What time do billionaires go to sleep? ›
But the majority manage to get at least 6 hours, as you can see in the list below detailing the sleep habits of 10 highly successful people: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX: 6 hours (1am — 7am) Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: 7 hours (9:30pm — 4:30am) Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft: 7 hours (12am — 7am)What time do CEOs wake up? ›
The survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, published on Thursday, found that 64% wake up by 6 a.m., or earlier. Nearly 9 out of 10 of the CEOs surveyed rise no later than 7 a.m.What time do billionaires wake up? ›
The survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, published on Thursday, found that 64% wake up by 6 a.m., or earlier. Nearly 9 out of 10 of the CEOs surveyed rise no later than 7 a.m.Why is it so hard to wake up at 6am? ›
Here's a list of causes of lack of sleep that can impact how you wake up early in the morning: Sleep disorders like sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder. Your body has a sleep deficiency or sleep deprivation. Mental health issues like depression, stress, and anxiety interrupting sleep.What to do after waking up at 6am? ›
- Water is a must. First things first, drink a glass of water before you leave your bed. ...
- Get some sun. ...
- Stretch your body. ...
- Get started with some early morning snacks. ...
- Meditate for 10 minutes. ...
- Read for half an hour. ...
- Prepare your routine. ...
- Some self-affirmation will help.
The Gradual Method. The best method for changing the time you wake up is to do it gradually — 10-15 minutes earlier for 2-4 days, until you feel used to it, and then repeat. If you get up at 8 a.m. normally, don't suddenly change it to 6 a.m. Try 7:45 a.m. first.Are early risers more successful? ›
Harvard Biologist Christoph Randler discovered that early risers are more proactive. They're also more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them efficiently, which leads to more success especially in the business world.Is it better to wake up at 6 or 7? ›
Our bodies love consistency, so try and stick to the same sleep schedule each day. That means if you know you need to be up at 7 a.m. two days a week, it's better to wake up at 7 a.m. every day — and yes, that includes weekends.
Why should we not sleep at 6 pm? ›
We should not sleep during evening, because that will disturb our night time sleep and ultimately will disturb our whole day cycle, which will get reflect our health.What percentage of successful people have a morning routine? ›
Are you setting yourself up for success from the very start of the day? [Study] Key takeaways: 88% of people always or often have a morning routine. Among them, highly productive people (92%) were more likely to do so.Do the most important thing first thing in the morning? ›
Science Says You Should Do Your Most Important Work First Thing in The Morning. The psychology research suggests that the least productive time of day is the mid-afternoon, right around 3 pm. Conversely, the most productive time to work is within the first two hours after you wake up.What is Warren Buffett's morning routine? ›
After getting a solid eight hours of sleep, Buffett typically wakes up around 6:45am to start his day. Many of us look forward to a cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning, and although Buffett also opts for caffeine, it's not coming from a Keurig. “If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola.What is Jennifer Aniston's morning routine? ›
Aniston does 20 minutes of meditation every morning, and says her practice has helped her stay centered. Aniston uses InsightTimer for her meditation, and said, “It's not guided, although sometimes I do one of their courses, because they have beautiful courses. During the pandemic, that has been really helpful for me.What was Einstein's morning routine? ›
Einstein was a man of habit, and his mornings were no exception. He would usually finish his breakfast between 9 and 10 AM, reading the daily newspaper as he ate. Afterward, Einstein would leave for Princeton, where he gave lectures.What time does Elon Musk wake up? ›
Elon begins every morning at 7 am, after roughly 6-6.5 hours of sleep, which he refers to as his “sweet spot.” More or less sleep than that and he is no longer performing optimally. During a Reddit AMA, Musk said, “Sleep is really great.What time does Jeff Bezos wake up? ›
Like many other tech titans, such as Elon Musk and Tim Cook, Bezos is an early riser. He's usually awake around 6:30 am.What habits do billionaires have? ›
- Self-made millionaires are constantly learning. ...
- Self-made millionaires listen more than they talk. ...
- Self-made millionaires build great teams. ...
- Self-made millionaires dream big. ...
- Self-made millionaires prioritize their health.
Despite what some people might think, studies have shown that people who wake up late are actually more productive than those who wake up early. This is because you're more likely to be well-rested and have more energy throughout the day.
Does waking up early actually work? ›
A 2017 Harvard study found that it doesn't matter whether you sleep early and wake up early or vice versa. The most important thing is that you're consistent about your schedule. Researchers traced the sleeping habits of 61 students for about a month and correlated those habits with their academic performance.Why is early rising better than rising late? ›
The great advantage of early rising is the good start it gives us in our day's work. The early riser has done a large amount of hard work before other men have got out of bed, In the early morning the mind is fresh, and there are few sounds or other distractions, so that work done at that time is generally well done.What are scientific facts about waking up early? ›
Better brain function: According to the research, people who wake up early have better brain function, superior critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Such people also tend to be more humorous with a lot of positive energy and likely to deeply engage themselves with.What time does the average millionaire wake up? ›
The survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, published on Thursday, found that 64% wake up by 6 a.m., or earlier. Nearly 9 out of 10 of the CEOs surveyed rise no later than 7 a.m.What time do famous people wake up? ›
The trend that says successful people are early risers is true in the case of celebrities as well. 63% of the highest-paid celebrities wake up at 6 AM or before. If we were to break this down a little more, 23% of them rise at 6 AM sharp, 17% at 5 AM, and 13% even earlier.Do all billionaires wake up at 4am? ›
Recently in an article in the Wall Street Journal, a journalist interviewed several billionaires and discovered that they all seem to find 4am as their "most productive time of day." If you want to learn why this will only work out for about 15 per cent of the population, keep reading.How often do billionaires sleep? ›
Successful entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, prioritise rest and swear by seven to eight hours of peaceful sleep.What is the best time to wake up for productivity? ›
This study also found that even morning larks struggle to be productive between 5 am and 6 am, with their productivity improving significantly after 7 am. What's more, their peak functionality period is from 9 am to 12 pm. Whereas for night owls, their peak functionality period is from 5 pm to 9 pm.What time Jennifer Aniston wakes up? ›
“I wake up at 8:30 a.m or 9 a.m., but go to bed late. I'm a night owl,” Aniston says.Are there successful people who wake up late? ›
Several successful business leaders wake up with the birds, and there are business leaders who lead successful companies even if they start late in the morning. A thing to consider is that there are people who perform better early in the morning and there are people who do better if they start their day later.
What time does Warren Buffett wake up in the morning? ›
After getting a solid eight hours of sleep, Buffett typically wakes up around 6:45am to start his day. Many of us look forward to a cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning, and although Buffett also opts for caffeine, it's not coming from a Keurig. “If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola.What time does Jeff Bezos wake up at? ›
Like many other tech titans, such as Elon Musk and Tim Cook, Bezos is an early riser. He's usually awake around 6:30 am.How many hours of sleep do rich people sleep? ›
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and other highly successful people who sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, can be seen on the fringes of the company's novelties event.