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Research Says Late Sleepers Are More Intelligent

Research Says Late Sleepers Are More Intelligent

The early bird may get the worm, but the night owl may be smarter – according some research.

Recent studies suggest that those who deviate from their preordained sleeping patterns may do so because they are more intelligent than those who go to bed early.  Not only are they smarter but they are often more creative. Evolutionary scientists say that this is because sleeping in is “evolutionarily novel.” It did not make sense for our ancestors to stay up working late through the night. This is because night time was dangerous. Until recently, there were no Taco Bells at 2 AM, only predators you could not see. The study shows that staying up late has almost nothing to do with heritability. Instead, it has more to do with an individual’s choices. Essentially, it takes a smart person to think to deviate from these evolutionary norms and choose to stay up all night.

Late sleepers may be making the decision to stay up all night instead of sleeping. But why does this make them smart?

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Late Sleepers Are More Creative

In a study performed by the Catholic University of the Sacred heart in Milan, 120 men and women completed a self-reporting questionnaire. The questionnaire asked them about whether they were a morning or an evening person. The groups were then divided up according to their answers. They were then subjected to further tests designed to test their creative ability. The subjects first drew pictures based on images shown to them. They were then told to complete incomplete shapes and give them a title. In the final test, the participants were given a piece of paper with 30 pairs of lines and told to create and title another picture.

The researchers then looked at the results. They judged each picture on flexibility, fluidity originality and elaboration. The results showed that those who identified as night owls scored significantly higher than early risers.

Late sleepers tend to do their best work at night and often find they are more creative after the sun sets. Scientists are not yet sure why this is the case. They think that it goes back to bucking against their evolutionary trends. According to the researchers, these late sleepers showed a “non-conventional spirit and the ability to find alternative and original solutions.”

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Late Sleepers Take Better Advantage of Their Waking Hours

Early risers have a sleeping pattern that sees them awake early in the morning and asleep early at night. However, early risers are more likely to be tired by the mid-afternoon. This means that these people are losing a good part of their day. It turns out that there is a reason for this that has less to do with productivity and more to do with brain chemistry.

A study at the University of Liege looked at the contrasts in brain activity between early risers and night owls. Both groups had similar levels of productivity upon waking. However, after 10 hours, the early risers had significantly lower brain activity. They also had a decreased attention span compared to the night owls.

This means that even though early risers are technically awake for more hours of the day, they are less productive than night owls. This makes the night owls smarter because they take full advance of their sleep cycle. Thus, the night owls are able to do more with their day.

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Late Sleepers Are Less Stressed

In theory, those who wake up late should be less stressed. However, extreme late sleepers have a more relaxing schedule than early risers as a whole.

Another study performed by scientists in Westminster tested the saliva of 42 men and women for two days. The goal was to analyze the level of the stress hormone called cortisol in the body. The results showed that those who woke up early had far higher levels of cortisol than the late sleepers. The results of this study may be of a more environmental nature that the previous studies. Early risers tend to be busier during the day and have no time to read a gold IRA rollover guide to try to make some extra cash. The number of problems they have to solve and the number of times they are hassled is also greater. Thus, early risers have less energy by the time they go back to sleep anyway.

On the other hand, late sleepers generally have the time to live life at more leisurely pace. Thus, they could work longer and not suffer the after lunch slump.

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It turns out that your day is not ruled by what side of the bed you wake up on. It is all what time you wake up. Instead of chastising your favorite night owl for staying up all night, they should be applauded for choosing to kick their evolutionary habits and make the most of their circadian rhythm.

Featured photo credit: Paul Oakenfold At Sutra/Tony Nungaray via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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