We don’t mean waking up early, like, 6:30 early – but earlier than most other people who wake up. Ironically enough, this story really hits us morning radio guys who are up at 2-3am every day. We just learned that it’s unhealthy – pretty severely unhealthy, actually. Cliff Notes at the bottom, it’s a long read.
To make this as easy to explain as possible (since we’re also not neuroscientists or brain doctors), we humans are simple biological creatures. Our main brain-clock (called a suprachiasmatic nuclei, apparently) is in tune with the region in which we live on earth. Our circadian rhythm relies on day/night cycles to naturally re energize, sleep, wake up, everything. Our internal organs (heart, stomach, liver, etc) all rely on that internal brain-clock that we have to perform their functions, too.
Well, when our brain-clock is telling our nerves and organs to “begin the day,” but we’ve already been awake for 3 or 4 hours, it sort of throws everything off. So, if you eat breakfast right at 4am just after waking up, but your body isn’t expecting breakfast until 6:30 or 7, things start going wrong. Your body’s natural blood sugar concentration can go awry, despite the size or type of meals you eat, and that could saturate your blood with more (or less) fat concentration that normal, too.
If you have an early schedule compared to most people, but it’s constantly changing, that’s even worse. Your body begins to expect things in certain situations; it learns the environment in which you are, so when something changes, it constantly has to re-learn what it’s doing, and it can never “hone in” on what it needs to do.
Things that you can do to help reset the brain-clock include showering yourself with light when it’s still dark outside, and eating early consistently (or just eating at a regular time consistently if you have a constantly changing schedule).
Long story short, waking up earlier than a majority of the population throws off your internal “brain-clock,” and can actually cause problems with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, loss in brain function, and even cancer likelihood. Basically a really bad version of jet-lag, but it’s constant, and causes physical health problems.