They say Waking up early never killed anyone, but that may not be true.
Rene Descartes never really had an actual job.
After college he traveled Europe, spending much of the time as a gentleman volunteer in the army, a rather cushy gig that required no actual combat.
He retired to the Netherlands in his thirties, but not for the pot and hookers as much as for peace and toleration.
He spent mornings in his bed, philosophizing a little and sleeping a lot.
Descartes enjoyed some successes as a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. In fact, his works drew the attention of the powerful and the intelligent of his day.
One of these powerful admirers was Queen Christina of Sweden, who often invited him to join her court and instruct her in philosophy, and offer that he repeatedly declined calling Sweden “the land of ice and bears”.
In 1649 however, finding himself flat broke, he grudgingly accepted the queen’s offer.
Upon arriving, Descartes discovered that Queen Christina (who could stand barefoot in the snow) insisted on having her lessons at 5 AM.
Rising at this ungodly hour and trudging through the elements soon killed Descartes.
The formal cause of death was pneumonia, but we all know it was that early wakeup that did him in.