Late Sleepers (aka Night Owls) Are Actually Secret Geniuses

BY Nathan Wilson | July 28, 2016
Late Sleepers Are Actually Secret Geniuses

What do Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama have in common? Apart from being frightfully efficient government officials, these history-making figures are also confirmed night owls – people who regularly sleep late at night.

Night owls often get a bad rep for being perceived as lazy people who refuse to adjust to society’s norms (sleeping and waking up early along with everyone else). However, recent research seems to indicate that it is precisely their predilection for ‘abnormal’ behavior that makes them smarter, more creative, and much more likely to succeed.

Late Sleepers Are Actually Secret Geniuses - ObamaThink about it: behavior that deviates from the norm is one of the primary causes of human evolution. We’re the alpha species on this planet because of our ability to adapt to anything – to change our behavior as well as our mode of thinking when it becomes necessary to survival. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Human creativity and innovation stems from the need to survive and improve our lives. And now, recent scientific research indicates that night owls may be more suited to innovative thinking than others.

In a study conducted by the University of Madrid, almost 1,000 teenagers were tested for both academic performance and ability to apply inductive reasoning. 32% of these teens were identified as night owls while around 25% were classified as ‘morning people’ – the remainder could not be classified as either.

Predictably, the morning-oriented teens showed better academic performance than the night owls. Researchers speculate that this could have been due to the standard schedule of most classes – of course the morning types did better in tasks that happened mostly in the morning.

What’s interesting is that when it came to tests that measured inductive reasoning, the night owls performed much better. Apart from being good indicators of general intelligence and strong academic performance, inductive intelligence has long been linked to innovative thinking. This means that the night owls in the group are more critical and creative thinkers than their morning counterparts.

While night owls are less able to adapt to societal norms that dictate everyone’s behavior, they’re also potentially able to change those very norms. It’s no exaggeration – high scores in inductive reasoning indicates potential for getting better jobs, higher incomes, and applying out-of-the-box thinking to make it all possible.

So the next time someone chides you for sleeping too late at night, remember that you could be the next step in human evolution.

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