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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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