OT from ET: Night owls are cleverer than early birds!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

So there! ISSUE 1577 Sunday 19 September 1999

Night owls are 'cleverer than early birds' By Robert Matthews

THE early bird may catch the worm but people who prefer to loll in bed and work into the evening are typically more intelligent, according to psychologists.

In research, the results of which will no doubt be seized upon by teenagers everywhere, psychologists have found that those who only get their act together late in the day tend to have quicker minds and better memories than "larks" who like to get an early start. While such geniuses as Descartes, Mozart and Dr Johnson were fond of lying-in, folklore has long insisted that for most of us, rising early leads to health, wealth and wisdom.

But that old adage has now been debunked by the first study of the links between human intelligence and the 24-hour rhythm of light and dark. In a joint project by the University of Sydney and the United States Air Force, more than 400 recruits completed questionnaires to find out if they considered themselves early rising "morning type" or late-working "evening types". Each was then subjected to mental agility and memory tests. The researchers discovered that those who preferred late starts typically had significantly better mental speed and memory.

Richard Roberts of the University of Sydney said: "The results indicate that, contrary to conventional folk wisdom, evening types are more likely to have higher intelligence scores. Early to bed, early to rise will likely make you anything but wise."

The team suggested that the link between intelligence and working late might be a hang-over from prehistoric times, as humans who were still bright and alert after dark would have been more likely to survive attacks by nocturnal predators. Dr Roberts said: "It would not seem too fanciful to argue that those able to adapt to evening schedules were among the fittest of the emerging Homo sapiens."

If true, this would mean that a fondness for lying-in may be at least partly genetic. Support for this possibility appears in the latest issue of Nature Medicine, in which a team of American researchers point to a genetic cause for a disorder that makes people fall asleep at certain times.

Larks include John Humphrys, the BBC Radio Four presenter, who rises at 3.30am to anchor the Today programme. Zandra Rhodes, the fashion designer, wakes at 4am and Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop, also likes to start the day at dawn.

A rare combination of both lark and owl is found in Baroness Thatcher, who manages on four or five hours' sleep a night. Members of her Downing Street team told of a "sleep is for wimps" philosophy.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), September 20, 1999



-- Downstreamer (downstream@bigfoot.com), September 20, 1999.

It's in common usage in England.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), September 20, 1999.

Now, if they'd just include those of us who "stay up late and wake up early" in those studies I'd be happy. Owls, larks, and,...um zombies? What animal rarely sleeps? Let's hear a round of applause for the 'power nap'.

--She in the sheet who always worries about missing something when asleep.

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), September 20, 1999.

Yus us Brits are cleverer than Septics ain't we Old Git ? :)

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), September 20, 1999.

Vindicated!!! At long last. I can no longer brag that I'm lazy though...

-- Mara Wayne (MaraWayne@aol.com), September 20, 1999.

All well and good. Unfortunately, the world at large wants to deal with me during the day, and my family has some slight objections to my practicing Bartok at four in the morning.

-- Forrest Covington (theforrest@mindspring.com), September 20, 1999.

Thanks! I appreciate any data which suggests my weaknesses are really strengths ...

-- DaveW (dwood@southwind.net), September 20, 1999.

OK nightowls, we must refrain from being insufferably pleased with ourselves about this; be kind to those early birds. :-)


It's short for: much more cleverer. :-)


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), September 20, 1999.

You're right Jerry. And that would explain why Flint is never around when I am at 2 in the morning. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever witnessing a polly debating a GI at feaverishly back and forth in the middle of the night either. Seems only FRLians are up this late ;-)

Thanks Old Git, I must now print this article and frame it in my home-office. I need all the help I can get to explain my laz...um...slow morning starts and late-night escapades.

-- Chris (#$%^&@pond.com), September 20, 1999.

Well, it's about time!

As someone who has been nagged unmercifully by everybody I ever lived with from parents onward for half a century, even including my cats, to go to bed at 10 PM just when I'm coming to life, I thank you too. I'm very pleased to know that my 2 AM full-tilt activities indicate intelligence, not stubborness, and intend to pass this on! If this was only more recognised as fact, maybe we would not be expected to show up in our offices at the uncivilized and ungodly hour of 8 AM, when most wise people and all good writers should be asleep. So there, too.

Needed that break from urgency - thanks, Old Git.

-- Scat (sgcatique@webtv.net), September 20, 1999.

I saw somewhere (Scientific American, maybe?) that they've measured the hours and working days of people who have done research in caves for extended periods of time. These people were alone, had no way to find out the outside time, and no clues from sunlight or anything.

Interestingly, their working days varied from less than 8 hours (between sleep periods) to more than 60 hours. Nor did there seem to be a pattern, except that if these people were doing something they found interesting, they had long days. If they lost interest, their days were short.

The last time I was between jobs and didn't need to keep boss's hours, I found myself comfortable with about a 27 hour day, and my sleep period (8 hours) ratcheted around the clock during the three months I was gainfully unemployed. Today, I agree to be at work at 7:30 each morning, and my employer in exchange pays me. Such a deal.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 20, 1999.

Churchill was another owl. He liked to take long naps in the afternoons and stay up half the night. Sensible man. I have a feeling he was a GI by temperament.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), September 20, 1999.

Well, some of us don't get up until we have to for 5:30 am morning prayer... (Might as well start early...we need all the prayer that we can get!)

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), September 20, 1999.

Yes- and at what time of day did these researchers perform their tests? at 7:00 a.m. when early birds are sharp? Or at 7:00 p.m. when the night owls are getting going and the early birds are thinking about bed....?

-- farmer (hillsidefarm@drbs.net), September 20, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ