What is better than sex?
When I was young (around 20) and first sampling sex, I would always say that a day of good surfing was still better than a day of sex. I am now 3 times that age, surfing is harder and I am not as good, so sex climbs higher on the list. Also when I was younger I had not had good sex.
When I was about 40, I was having great awesome sex and they were on a par. Now I am 60 and sex probably wins. A big surf may kill me, great sex is unlikely to do so,
The one thing I value above sex is being in an elevated state of mind and energy. It doesn't matter if I am at full mental engagement during exercise, or during something purely cerebral. If I am at a high level of mental engagement with enough fuel, then I am feeling much more positive than when I am having sex.
I think that waking up very early and making other positive daily adjustments exacerbate these effects much more, because they grant even more energy.
I think it was John Stuart Mill that drove this normative home. He more or less said that pleasures of the mind are superior to pleasures of the body.