We’ve all heard Ben Franklin’s famous musing, “Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” It may be true that the go-getters among us tend to get up early, but it’s also true that more intelligent people tend to stay up later. Believe it or not, this is actually a scientifically studied phenomenon!
According to “Psychology Today,” intelligent people are more likely to be nocturnal than people with lower IQ scores. In a study run on young Americans, results showed that intelligent individuals went to bed later on weeknights and weekends than their less intelligent counterparts.
However, one thing that didn’t make sense for humans way back when was staying up late. With very few options for lighting – just fire, really – they would get up just before sunrise and go to bed after sunset. Perhaps a few individuals would stay up for a convo late into the evening. But chances are that most people knocked off at least shortly after dark, so that they would get enough sleep before they got up again at the crack of dawn.
Intelligent people, though, may have begun to override those instincts and to stay up later than their peers. It seems that this has carried over into today’s world, and today’s most intelligent individuals are also likely to go to bed late and sleep in later than their peers.
A study from Satoshi Kanazawa, psychologist at The London School of Economics, shows that intelligence and night-owl tendencies are strongly correlated. In a survey, Kanazawa showed that those with an IQ of over 125 tended to go to bed around 12:30 a.m. and wake up around 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and to go to bed around 1:45 a.m. and wake up around 11:00 a.m. on weekends.
Those of normal intelligence tended to sleep from 12:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and from 1:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on weekends. Those of below normal intelligence tended to sleep from 11:45 p.m. to 7:20 a.m. on weekdays and from 12:35 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on weekends. As you can see, that’s a pretty big difference.
Now, the study doesn’t exactly prove that being a night owl makes you more intelligent or that all intelligent people stay up late and sleep in late. If I went to bed several hours later I still wouldn’t be able to come up with The Theory Of Relativity. But, there are plenty of factors here, studies show that more intelligent people, women particularly, tend to have children later and have fewer children, which allows them to sleep in later than their peers. Another factor could be the types of jobs people tend to hold because of their intelligence level.
Still, you can’t argue with numbers and averages. And it certainly seems that more intelligent people do stay up later. So, if you’re reading this – well done, you’re (probably) winning at life.