I am an early riser…and I have lots of well-known company in that—Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly rises at 3:45…Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz gets up at 4:30…and Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson rises at 5:00. Like them, I recognize that those early-morning hours are the most productive of my day.

Perhaps you’re an early riser…or want to give it a try. I checked in with productivity coach Josh Davis, PhD, chief scientist at the leadership-­coaching organization Mentora Institute, for his suggestions on making the most of these hours…

Early to bed. You may have heard that Thomas Edison slept only four hours a night. That might have worked for him, but it wouldn’t for me. The majority of us need around eight hours of sleep per night to be at our best.

Use jet-lag strategies. Take a hint from frequent fliers who know how to help their bodies shift to a different time zone quickly—take a melatonin supplement at bedtime…then exercise and spend time in daylight shortly after waking. And if you decide to rise before dawn, consider using a bright white light—5,000 Kelvin or above—to simulate daylight.

Decide how to spend that early morning time. Before you dive in, consider which tasks would benefit most from extended, interruption-free focus.

Adjust your weekend socializing. This may be the hard part. Often our family and friends socialize late on weekends. Perhaps organize earlier activities…make an early exit from gatherings…and/or allow yourself to stay up late on Friday or Saturday night, then transition back to an early schedule on Sunday.

Here’s wishing you happy and productive days!

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