• DJ Fresh believes there are fewer distractions when waking up at 4AM. 
  • Apple's Tim Cook wakes up at 03:45 to do emails and exercise. 
  • Bob Iger, CEO of Disney gets out of bed at 04:30 to read the morning papers and watch TV. 
  • Benefits of waking up early include lower stress, more productivity and healthier lifestyles.


One of South Africa's most popular radio hosts, DJ Fresh - with over 1.5 million Twitter followers -  joins Apple CEO Tim Cook and Disney CEO Bob Iger waking up at 4AM

And the benefits include lower stress, more productivity and healthier lifestyles

"At 4AM I am at the height of productivity," DJ Fresh told Business Insider South Africa.

Besides hosting radio he is also a music producer, television presenter and entrepreneur. 

"There isn't all that noise of cars chasing by and all the other distractions. I found if I get things like gym out of the way - I have the rest of the day to play with."

Fresh doesn't have much choice. His three-hour long Fresh Breakfast Show on Metro FM starts at 5AM. But he says he'd still wake up early even if he didn't have to.

"I am very disciplined. When I did the afternoon show [on Metro FM], I still woke up early to take care of the most essential things - it just makes the rest of the day easier."

"Obviously early mornings aren't for everybody, but if you can make it work it almost gives you a head start before everybody else - especially if you are able to be productive from the get-go."

Top CEO's use mornings to read, exercise and reply to emails

Executive coach Stephen Beukes, who wakes up 4AM every day himself, says CEOs who are earlier risers report being more productive. 

Apple's Tim Cook famously wakes up at 03:45 to check email and Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, gets out of bed at 04:30 to read newspapers, exercise, listen to music, and watch TV. 

Tim Cook

"While the rest of the world is asleep, it gives you precious hours to catch up on emails and complete personal admin," says Beukes.

"It really helps you to plan your priorities, making sure that you tackle the most important things first."

He says when you are in the right mindset, it is much easier to make decisions and feel refreshed.

"Some of my clients use the time practice hobbies they'll never get time for the rest of the day." 

Early exercise keeps you sharp the rest of the day 

Discovery Vitality's in-house biokineticist Mari Leach advise people to use the extra morning hours to exercise. 

Early morning exercises increase the blood flow to the brain which increases the functionality of neurotransmitters involved in the cognitive ('thinking') part of the brain, Leach says.

"Your central nervous system will be more alert and your neurotransmitters restored after a good night's sleep."People with anxiety and who are highly active can also expect lower stress levels compared to those with low activity levels. 

"As you hear the dreaded alarm at 5AM, the last thing you want to do is get up," Leach says.

"[But] as you leave the comfort of your warm room to begin upping your heart rate, your body says, 'Thank you for making the sacrifice to exercise today.'" 

SEE ALSO: Cyril Ramaphosa wakes up before 5AM for #TummyMustFall — and experts think you should too