It is necessary to make it known that one should regularly [rise] at midnight. 1

At the very least be scrupulous to recite the [morning]-prayer before sunrise, both in summer and winter. That is, most of the prayer, up to the reading of the Shema, should be said before sunrise. 2 The difference between before sunrise and after sunrise is as great as the distance from east to west; for prior [to sunrise] one can still negate [all judgments]. 3 This is indicated in [the verse], “[The sun is] like a groom coming forth from his bridal chamber, rejoicing like a warrior.. and nothing is hidden from chamato (its heat)” (Psalms 19:6-7); do not read chamota (its heat) but cheimato (his wrath). This means that once the sun has already risen over the earth there is no more hiding from the judgments which come from the angels of wrath. Thus do not regard this matter lightly, for it is of great import. The Baal Shem, may his memory be for blessing, was very particular with this, to the point that when he did not have a quorum he would pray on his own.