If you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, but easier to stay up late at night, don’t feel too bad about it. It just means that you may be more intelligent.
A team of researchers from the University of London and New York-based Psychology Today have posited that people who are more comfortable being awake during the nighttime are not contrary to human behaviour, they might just be more evolved. In a study titled ‘Why night owls are more intelligent’, the duo say that alarm snoozers are actually smarter than their early rising counterparts.
“While there are some individual differences in the circadian rhythm, where some individuals are more nocturnal than others, humans are basically a diurnal (as opposed to nocturnal) species,” the study states. “Humans rely very heavily on vision for navigation but, unlike genuinely nocturnal species, cannot see in the dark or under little lighting, and our ancestors did not have artificial lighting during the night until the domestication of fire. Any human in the ancestral environment up and about during the night would have been at risk of predation by nocturnal predators.”
“It is therefore safe to assume that our ancestors rose at around dawn and went to sleep at around dusk, to take full advantage of the natural light provided by the sun, and the “night life” (sustained and organized activities at night after dusk) is probably evolutionarily novel.”
In short, our ancestors kept to an “early to bed, early to rise” rhythm because they had no choice. However, after the advent of things like fire, electric lights and such, we’re no more constrained by that philosophy. As such, the study claims that people who prefer to stay up late are just better at adapting to the new environment, than others who follow their natural, and in some ways outdated, genetic programming. In addition, it also claims that being able to listen to your body’s needs, rather than subjecting it to the rules of a clock, means you’re more likely to be an independent thinker.
To back this up, the researchers quizzed 15,197 students from 130 different schools about their sleeping habits, while also measuring their IQs. They found that more intelligent students were more likely to adopt evolutionary practices than those of general intelligence, who mostly stuck to what they were told. More intelligent children are reportedly also more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults, who go to bed late and wake up late on both weekdays and weekends.