Waking up before sunrise isn’t usually something people do voluntarily. But as winter creeps closer and our mornings get darker, it’s inevitable for lots of us.
The bad news is that waking up before the sun does could also be harming our health, as scientists from Melbourne, Australia have found that it causes ‘social jet lag’.
For those who don’t know what ‘social jet lag’ is, it’s when we’re forced to wake up rather than wake up naturally.
According to The Huffington Post, when the sun rises our bodies’ melatonin (which helps people sleep) is naturally suppressed, and simultaneously, our bodies’ internal cortisol levels (which give us energy) rise too.
But when someone is made to wake up unnaturally - e.g. thanks to an alarm set before sunrise - these hormones are thrown out of kilter.
And unfortunately, this hormone imbalance can cause problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and depression.
Which raises the question: If waking up in darkness is so bad for us, should we be allowed to work less in winter?
Especially considering many people people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder too, and so will find themselves feeling lethargic or even depressed during the winter months.
But for now, the times we wake up are pretty out of our control, so there are a few other things we can do to help this - such as eating a big breakfast, cutting out caffeine later in the day and using alarm clocks that simulate a sunrise to wake you up.
Should we be able to work less in winter? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.