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Research Reveals Night Owls Are More Intelligent Than People Who Get Up Early

Research Reveals Night Owls Are More Intelligent Than People Who Get Up Early

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?

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Here’s the low down.

Staying Up Late

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,

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“…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.

Looking Back

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.

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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.

Harnessing Your Unique Abilities

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.

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So get out there and help us evolve. We’re counting on you.

Featured photo credit: Unexpected nights / Lara Cores via albumarium.com

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Cate Scolnik

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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