High School Scorecard

Waking up before sunrise may hurt your health

MELBOURNE, Australia —  Waking up before the sun might be slowly killing you!

Rising before sunrise isn’t just inconvenient, according to scientists in Melbourne, Australia, it also causes “Social Jet Lag.”

“Social Jet Lag” refers to the difference in how awake someone is during the day when they’re forced to wake up - versus when the body wakes up naturally.

When the sun rises, it naturally suppresses the body’s melatonin - the hormone that helps people sleep.

At the same time, the body’s internal cortisol levels start to rise - the hormone that gives everyone that ‘jolt’ of energy in the morning.

It might not sound all that harmful, but throwing off natural sleep patterns can cause hormonal imbalances and increase risks of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and depression.

To mitigate some of these risks, there’s a few things you can do. First, cut out the caffeine later in the day before you sleep. Second, eat a big breakfast, less sun exposure decreases vitamin d levels and a healthy meal really gives your brain a boost. And third, use technology — like an alarm clock that simulates the sun rising.

Things are even worse this time of year because the sun is rising later in the morning. Just a few more weeks though — on Nov.  6, daylight savings pushes the clock back one hour. Hopefully that one hour is enough.