Early risers vs. night owls: Which is healthier?
Neither, says Dr. Oliver Rawashdeh — a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Queensland and member of the Australasian Chronobiology Society’s executive committee — during a lecture for the Pillars of Health Community Forum in April 2021. The event was hosted by CrossFit Neuro in Brisbane, Australia, where brain and spinal neurosurgeon Dr. David Johnson founded one of the world’s first in-hospital CrossFit affiliates.
Rawashdeh discusses issues such as advanced sleep-phase syndrome, delayed sleep-phase syndrome, and chronic sleep deprivation, the latter of which has been linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
“It is your interaction with society and your work schedule that causes these issues,” Rawashdeh says.
Such problems have less to do with when you go to bed or even how much sleep you get, Rawashdeh says, and more to do with how modern society and its technologies disrupt the biological clock — a term Rawashdeh says is less metaphorical than you might think.
“Modern lifestyle is carcinogenic,” he says. “The more you’re exposed to light during the nighttime, the worse you’re going to feel the next day, because you’re jet-lagging your internal clock.”
The good news?
You can fix it.