This New Study Says Night Owls Are Actually Smarter

Early riser? Night owl? Neither? Well, being a night owl might be the new badge of honor. According to a recently released study, "more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals." That's kind of a bombshell.


In today's culture, early morning work hours tend to be prized, but maybe we have it backwards; maybe it's the midnight oil that should be burned instead.

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This particular study, "Why night owls are more intelligent," hones in on circadian rhythms and how they impact us (aka the clocks within us that biologically determine when we're awake and asleep — it's what makes bats nocturnal, and humans diurnal). Evolutionarily we are diurnal because our night vision isn't so great, meaning that in the era pre artificial light our ancestors would have been in grave danger after dark. That said, as the study tells us, "Humans have the unique ability to cognitively override their internal biological clock and its rhythmic outputs." It's a pretty safe assumption that the "night life" we engage in now is a relatively novel practice.


The researchers arrive at their conclusion that those of us who have overridden our biological clocks are more intelligent by taking a sample of individuals and interviewing them — asking them questions about sleep habits, morning habits, as well as administering a test to assess their intelligence. While of course much more research needs to be done, these early findings seem to indicate those those who stay up later at night have a higher IQ.

Maybe "early to bed" isn't so important after all.