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.
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: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/intelligent-people-tend-to-be-messy-stay-awake-longer-and-swear-more-a7174256.html
Kanazawa, S. (2010, May 09). Why Night Owls are More Intelligent Than Morning Larks. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201005/why-night-owls-are-more-intelligent-morning-larks
Satoshi Kanazawa, K. P. (2009). Why night owls are more intelligent than morning larks. Personality and Individual Differences, 685-690.