Are You a Late Sleeper? What Does That Really Mean About You?

As far back as I can remember, I have struggled to get out of bed in the morning. School started at the ungodly hour of 8 am and when I was older, all my places of employment expected me to show up promptly at the 8 O’clock hour. That meant I was hitting the snooze button from 530 am to 615 am hoping I’d want to get up by the time it started to get light outside. It never worked. Not once. I would drive to work with one eye open and wish someone would make a workday that started at 11 am.

If you are one of these night owls as well, fear not. You are not necessarily lazy; in fact, it may be a sign of higher intelligence and greater creativity.

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Day Time, Night Time, Anytime

The world works in a daily cycle. We have a day/. If you weren’t sleeping, you would likely be a meal for a hungry lion.

Night-owls and other nocturnal species are prepared for the darkness with their night vision. It is when they are most active and hunt their prey.

According to a study in the Personality and Individual Differences Journal, there is some genetic component to an individual’s predisposition of preference to morning or night wakefulness; it is largely an individual choice and decision. That means that we decide if we are going to stay up late or get up early. As we evolve, the need for adaptation to our environment is necessary, and the study shows that people who are nocturnal have adapted to their environment and therefore have more intelligence than those who still rise with the sun.

Throughout history observations describe people rising with the sun and going to sleep just after dark. This was necessary to take full advantage of the sunlight. Dusk was a time for meals followed by short-lived conversations and singing, then sleep near the comfort of the fire.

The world we live in today is ripe with sustained nocturnal activities. For example, Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps is full of people round the clock hoping to win their fortune. Birthday and Wedding celebrations often run late into the night and freeways are busy with the sound of air horns from truck drivers in the middle of the night.

How We Know

The authors of the study analyzed a large sample of young Americans and based on specific social and demographic factors found that more intelligent children grow up to be more nocturnal as adults than less intelligent children. More intelligent individuals go to bed later both on weeknights and weekends. For example, a child with an IQ of less than 75 goes to bed around 11:30 pm on weeknights in early adulthood, whereas a child with an IQ over 125 hits the sheets around 12:30 am.

In evolutionary terms, this means they have demonstrated a better ability to adapt to their changing environment thus being more intelligent.

I don’t know what my IQ is, but the average time I finally lay down to go to sleep is about 1 am. My husband, on the other hand, has always gone to bed around 10 pm. Am I smarter than him? I wouldn’t be the one to point that out, but I just may leave the study on the coffee table where he is bound to notice it.

How about you? Do you prefer the nighttime hours or the early daylight? Do you agree that night owls are more intelligent and adaptable than those morning larks? Let us know in the comments below.


Hunter, J. S. (2016, August 5). Intelligent people tend to be messy, stay awake longer, and swear more and often. Retrieved from Business Insider:

Kanazawa, S. (2010, May 09). Why Night Owls are More Intelligent Than Morning Larks. Retrieved from Psychology Today:

Satoshi Kanazawa, K. P. (2009). Why night owls are more intelligent than morning larks. Personality and Individual Differences, 685-690.

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  1. how the fuck are you gonna burn your own sweet loving husband like that? i will never understand straight people

    1. Hahaha well how do you know he’s sweet? He has a great sense of humor and finds it funny. Don’t worry, I love him very much and he knows it. 😉

  2. I dissagree cause though I am a night owl, I believe that late sleepers are more related with procrastination, and the potential of creativity might relay there but without order or planning it will not be exploded

    1. There is also a study that says more intelligent people tend to procastinate, more.

  3. We are not bound by time. For me I am a night owl always have been, but I also suffer from insomnia so I rarely sleep (but that’s another conversation). I do my best work and thinking and studying between the hours of 1pm and 2am. So I think that this is based on the individual, and makes it so that is you are a high owl or late sleeper it isn’t necessarily a bad thing as some would like to make it.

    1. I am the exact same way. I was born at 11pm at night so my mom jokes that I’ve literally always been a night owl. I always stayed up late as a kid
      well really because I couldn’t fall asleep and so I would get up and play with toys until I was tired enough to go to sleep and then I’d get back into bed and pass out. Then as a teen I actually never got a smart phone until after I graduated high school so that wasn’t what kept me up o just couldn’t ever fall asleep I had to make special playlists on Pandora for myself or listen to sleep apps on my iPod touch. I’ve tried alot of things such as melatonin pills, and even tried white noise machines but those all eventually stop working. But now I know I have insomnia cause it take me forever to fall asleep and then I can’t stay asleep. So like it taked me a full 2 maybe 3 hours to fall asleep after my head hits the pillow, and then I’ll wake up several times during the night I swear I haven’t had a good REM cycle sleep in maybe 2 tears

  4. I’m a night owl. I love the night time! I think I’m smarter than most. Not arrogance just confidence and observations; I do also have a genius level IQ to back that up.

  5. I’m not sure how this relates to me. I am adaptable. If the boss needs me on graveyard, I work it. If he needs cover on second I work it. Stay over no problem, weekends no problem. My IQ was about 140 in high school. I’m an electrician and a math geek as well as skilled in other mechanical and engineering work. Most ppl can’t just switch hours. It’s no sweat for me.

  6. Oh my god yes!! My family has been bugging me going to bed at 3am or something!!! This is my proof!!!!!!!! Thank you!! 😭😭😘

  7. I think late sleepers are differing from Depression with anxiety. That’s why they can’t sleep. They overthink is another reason.

  8. I am a night owl as well, always have been. In addition I do not sleep much, around 4-5 hours during my school time, now as I attend university it’s 5-6 hours. I refused to go to bed as a child, always stayed up late and I never liked morning lessons. It’s not like I can’t (or won’t) get up in the morning, I’m flexible there. But I just can’t concentrate pre, say, 1 pm. My most productive time is between 5 pm and 2 am, that’s when I do work, study, etc.

    I would say my intelligence is above average, but I won’t consider myself as super smart or a genius. I also don’t think that night owls do have higher intelligence, it may be that staying up late, higher IQ and creativity (as well as other traits) correlate, but it’s surely very individual.

    I think it’s necessary for society to understand, that not all people are morning people and that it’s not better to be a morning person than a nocturnal and that there would be way more efficient (and happy, concentrated and motivated) workers/students/… if we would not be forced to adapt to a lifestyle where we can’t follow our personal sleep-rhythm. That’s something that always bugged me, other people telling me I have to go to bed earlier, stand up earlier, do my homework earlier, just because it’s “normal” (say fitting for most people) to do so.

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