Are you a night owl? If you prefer to stay up later and then sleep in later, you should no longer feel ashamed for missing the first few hours of daylight each day. In fact, your night owl tendencies might indicate that you're smarter and more creative than your early-to-bed, early-to-rise counterparts.
This study claims that night owls are, in fact, more intelligent than people who keep more typical bedtime hours. The study used participants' verbal intelligence to indicate their overall intelligence, and compared the sleeping habits of each participant.
The study found that, generally, the more intelligent participants reported that they prefer to stay up late at night, and then slept later each day. The participants with lower intelligence tended to go to bed earlier.
But intelligence isn't the only thing that night owls had in common. This study found that night owls tended to perform better when asked to take a drawing creativity test, implying that night owls may also be more creative than people who go to bed early.
According to Hans Van Dongen, associate research professor at the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, there is a biological reason behind why some people go to bed later than others. A small group of brain cells emits signals which synchronize our brains with the time of day, creating our biological clocks. Early morning risers have a clock which runs two hours ahead of the clocks of people who are night owls.
While biology plays a role in our individual clocks, humans do have the ability to override our natural sleep cycles. We can choose to be night owls. People who work third shift jobs choose to be nocturnal.
If you think about it, there's plenty of logical evidence for why night owls may be more intelligent. Hundreds of years ago, staying up late wasn't an acceptable thing to do. But night owls go against the grain and aren't afraid to be different; meaning that they're receptive to new behaviors and thinking outside the box.
It's also possible that night owls stay up late in order to do activities like read books or take part in hobbies. They may be able to find quiet, undisturbed time during the night to pursue these intelligence-building activities.
If you're inclined to become a night owl, it may be worth listening to your body. Don't stay up so late that you can't function at work the next day, but think about staying up later on the weekends. See what happens. You might be surprised at how much you get done each night.