Does the early bird really get the worm?
Sleep has always been something I have seen as treasure, due to all the gruesome early mornings I suffered during my school years. I’ve always justified my late mornings by telling myself that I should wake up when my body feels ready…which is regularly pretty late.
If you’re like me and sometimes feel badly about your late sleeping habits, fear no more. According to some studies, people who sleep in are much more creative, have higher cognitive ability, and are known to be risk takers.
Though early birds tend to be more productive, people who sleep in are more likely to be night owls, and it is the night owl that has proven to be more creative and intelligent.
Due to the societal norm of most social events taking place between 9-5, early birds tend to possess more positive social traits. Night owls are often sleep deprived when accommodating these social norms, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to social attributes; scientists have named this disadvantage, “social lag.”
Night owls tend to have lower grades during University years, but their risk taking traits can translate to more opportunities and more financial gain.
In a 2009 study conducted by the University of Liege in Belgium, 15 extreme night owls and 16 extreme early birds participated in a study, where their brains were monitored at different stages during their awakened state. Researchers found that participants performed equally well after one hour of being awake, however, night owls performed better after 10.5 hours of being awake than their early bird counterparts. After 10.5 hours of being awake, early birds had lower activity in the brain regions linked to attention and the circadian master clock.
Another study conducted at the University of Madrid reviewed the sleeping patterns of 1,000 teens and found that night owls scored higher on inductive reasoning tests.
Now of course, this is all relative. There are plenty of creative, intelligent people who love waking up early, and not every person who wakes up late is necessarily creative or more intelligent.
Keep doing whatever works for you. I’m just personally relieved that my sleeping in late could actually be a good thing 😉