So you’re a night owl. Have you ever wondered why that is? Because you’re not the only one wondering. Scientists have been wondering too. They believe that going to bed late, like you do, could be a sign of high intelligence.
That’s right, there’s research that shows that intelligent people are more likely to stay up late.
In fact, scientists think that clever people are biologically programmed to be night owls. So if you find yourself staying up later than your friends and family, it may be because you’re smarter than they are. Not convinced?
Here’s the low down.
Intelligent people are more likely to have different sleep cycles (or circadian rhythms) than people with a lower IQ. In fact, research indicates that there’s a strong correlation between intelligence and bedtime. That is the higher your IQ, the later you’ll stay up. The study of over 20,000 people found that people with high IQ’s were more likely to go to bed about half an hour later than the rest of us. They also got up about half an hour later.
The study found that,
“…more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal, getting up later in the morning and going to bed later in the evening, than less intelligent individuals.”
This was true of both adults and children, as the study found,
“More intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults who go to bed late and wake up late on both weekdays and weekends”
So if you or your kids have trouble turning in early, it could be biological. Your grey matter could actually be affecting your circadian rhythms.
The theory is that the higher your intelligence, the more likely it is that you’ll challenge evolutionary boundaries. You see, in evolutionary terms, people have a number of limitations. OK, we have opposable thumbs and can walk upright, but we have limitations that other animals don’t. For example, humans have poor night vision compared to other creatures like lions, leopards and wolves. So historically humans had to retire to a safe place at night.
There was little point in staying up late because they couldn’t see well. If they did venture out at night, they were likely to become the victim of a creature with better night vision. But humans are also adaptable, and the one thing they have going for them is their curiosity. Their ability to discover things – like fire. Humans need to develop new behaviors and discover new things. It’s nature’s way of ensuring we evolve.
Scientists now think that people with higher IQ’s are part of this evolution. Their intelligence drives them to experiment with these evolutionary limitations. So being a night owl could be a sign of your high intellect.
Here’s the bad news. While smart people are more likely to stay up late, the reverse doesn’t hold true. You can’t increase your IQ by going to bed later. It just won’t work. So your special talents can’t be copied or replicated. It’s innate. You have it or you don’t – and you’ve got it! You always knew you were special, right? Well, now you know why.
You’re a freak of nature. In the best way. One of a select few highly intelligent night owls, at the cutting edge of human evolution. You’re part of nature’s way of pushing the boundaries. You’ll help us mere mortals improve our problem-solving ability. You’ll provide us with new ways we can improve our lives.
So get out there and help us evolve. We’re counting on you.
Original article appeared on lifehack.org
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