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10 Reasons Why Night Owls Are Smarter People

10 Reasons Why Night Owls Are Smarter People
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Are you a night owl? Most people have heard the phrase ‘the early bird gets the worm’, but various studies have actually shown that night owls may be smarter.

As everyone else is nodding off, the night owls start to become productive, resulting in all kinds of benefits.

Check out 10 reasons why night owls are smarter people.

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1. They Have ‘Evening Strength’

There may be a physical advantage to being a night owl: researchers at the University of Alberta tested the leg strength of nine early birds and nine night owls and found that the leg strength of an early bird remained consistent throughout the day. However, the leg strength of the people who stayed up later actually peaked to higher levels during the evening!

Olle Lagerquist, the co-author of the study, said the reason for this may be because night owls “show increased motor cortex and spinal cord excitability.”

2. They Tend To Be More Relaxed

Early birds often have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which stay high all day. However, night owls are often much more relaxed, as they don’t receive the same amount of cortisol in the morning.

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3. They Score Higher On General Intelligence Tests

A study conducted at the University of Madrid looked at the sleeping patterns of roughly a thousand teenagers. The study came away with two pretty different results; while early risers are more likely to get better grades, the night owls actually scored higher on tests related to general intelligence.

4. They May Need Less Sleep

Researchers from Belgium and Switzerland have discovered that night owls may not actually need as much sleep to function as everyone else. The study noted that after sleeping seven hours a night, early birds started to get wearier. However, this didn’t happen with the people who stayed up later, suggesting to the researchers that they required less sleep.

5. They Can Remain Alert For Longer

A study at the University of Liege, Belgium, monitored 15 extreme night owls and 16 extreme early birds. The participants continued with their normal sleeping patterns, and the researchers measured their brain activity when they first woke up, and then again just over 10 hours later.

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While the scores were similar in the morning, they noted that unlike the night owls, the early birds had lower brain activity in various areas relating to their attention span.

6. They Are More Flexible With Work

Although there are many people who prefer to stay up later, many of them have no choice but to adjust to an early morning schedule for work. Not only do night owls still regularly thrive in these situations, they also easily adapt to the extended hours in their day. This means night owls can often work effectively first thing in the morning, as well as last thing at night!

7. They May Have A Higher IQ

An interesting study conducted at the London School of Economics and Political Science by Satoshi Kanazawa, found a connection between adaptive behaviors and intelligence. The study discovered that “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.”

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8. They Have Productive Evenings

Night owls always have the option of socializing or working in the evening, because they have the energy to do so. As they go to bed so late, they also still have some wind down time before bed.

9. They Have Time To Prepare For The Following Day

Night owls normally have a long time between finishing work and going to bed, so they often have time to prepare themselves for the following day. From mentally planning the next day to setting out their work clothes, night owls often have their next day planned before it even starts.

10. They Have Strategic Thinking Abilities

Night owls often struggle to sleep, and the dark brings them peace and solitude. During this time night owls contemplate their lives and the world around them, making them more strategic thinkers and helping them to effectively deal with their issues and problems.

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More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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