Whilst the majority of us thrive in the mornings or afternoons, there are a select few of us who gravitate towards the late hours of the night.
Often referred to as "Night Owls", these people don't start to feel energised until the late hours of the evening or even deep into the night.
This is all down to their circadian rhythms ( the 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock). For night owls, their body clocks tend to to run slightly slower than 24 hours, thus they tend to feel more active later in the day.
Are you an Night Owl
To determine whether you're a night owl or not, have a look at some of the bullet points below. If you identify with the majority of them, it's likely that you are indeed a night owl.
You're a "Night Owl" if you...
- Struggle with waking up early
- Feel sluggish in the mornings
- Feel most energised in the evenings or night
- Are usually most productive in the late hours of the evening or night
- Consistently find yourself awake in the early hours of the morning
The 5 Benefits of Being an Night Owl
Benefit #1: Higher IQ
The first benefit of being a Night Owl is they tend to possess a higher IQ compared to their early morning counterparts.
A study conducted by the "London School of Economics and Political Science" examined the sleeping pattern of students in relation to their IQ. They found that those who scored higher on their IQ test happened to be those who both wake up later and go to bed late. On the flip side, those who scored lower on their IQ test tended to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
Whilst this is an incredible benefit of being a Night Owl, it rarely translates into real life. Their "early bird" counterparts still tend to perform better than the night owls when it comes to grades and career performance.
This is due to society being mostly catered towards early birds. Therefore, the night owls struggle to get going when they are required to such as school times or when working a 9-5.
Benefit #2: Exhibit More Creativity
Another benefit of being a Night Owl is they perform to a much higher level in tasks that require creativity and out of the box thinking.
This was best highlighted by a massive study conducted by the University of Madrid. They examined the sleeping patterns of 1000 adolescents in relation to factors such as their creative thinking and intelligence. The results found that night owls performed a lot better in tasks that required creative thinking compared to their early bird counterparts.
It's not just the one study that has come to this conclusion, the research team at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Miami also found that night owls exhibited higher levels of creativity throughout the day compared to those who identify as early risers.
The lead author of the study - Professor Marina Giampietro gave an explanation for why night owls exhibit more creativity, she says “Being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit [typical for nocturnal types], may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions.”
Benefit #3: A Longer Attention Span
The next benefit of being a Night Owl is they are generally able to stay alert for longer throughout the day. Where as their early bird counterparts tend to run out of mental energy sooner, regardless of when they wake up.
A study conducted by the University of Liege found that after 10 hours of waking up, those who were identified as night owls were able to remain alert and had quicker reaction times compared to those who were identified as early birds.
This can translate into greater productivity as Night Owls are able to work for greater lengths of time whilst remaining alert, energised and focused!
Benefit #4: Less Stressed
Those who identify as Night Owls not only report lower stress levels compared to their early morning counterparts but the science proves it too.
Early Birds were found to have higher levels of Cortisol (this is the body's primary stress hormone, it's responsible for controlling your mood, motivation and fear). Not only did they have higher levels of Cortisol upon waking up but they continued to possess greater levels of Cortisol throughout the day.
On the flip side, Night Owls were found to report less muscle aches, headaches, and cold symptoms. Furthermore, Night Owls were less likely to report feeling fatigued or exhausted throughout the day.
Benefit #5: Flexible Working Hours
The last benefit of being a Night Owl is they can adapt their working hours. Not only will they be able to work at times when others struggle to (which can be a competitive advantage) but they can also stay focused for a longer duration of the day.
Furthermore, this can be very advantageous for Night Owls who work a 9 to 5. Whilst many early risers come home from their 9 to 5 feeling exhausted, sluggish and ready to relax, night owls can continue to be productive and make greater strides in their career/academic performance throughout the evening.
Hopefully, for you Night Owls out there, this article will help you gain a greater understanding of your body clock, how to operate for maximum productivity and the incredible benefits that come along with being a Night Owl.
On the other hand if you're an early riser remember that just because there are certain benefits of being a Night Owl, it doesn't mean Night Owls are better than early risers. In fact click here to check out the benefits of being an early riser!