People Who Sleep Late Are Actually Smarter And More Creative

by Lauren Martin

Is there any worse feeling than waking up late?

Whether it's your mom screaming for you to wake up or your iPhone buzzing with messages from work, there's no worse way to experience the light of day than with a swelling pit at the bottom of your stomach that drops at the moment of consciousness.

The worst part is, you can't justify your actions. You want to tell your mom why you’re so tired -- because you stayed up till 2 am reading the most fascinating book before teaching yourself how to illustrate using Adobe.

But you know she’ll stop you at 2 am. That’s all she’ll hear. She’ll scold you for staying up late, threaten to take away your computer and tell you to start going to bed earlier.

The same will happen with your boss. You can’t explain that you were late for the third time this month because you were researching the life of an earthworm. People don’t want to hear your “excuses." They want you to get your sh*t together.

And that’s pretty much how life’s been so far. Yet you keep staying up and keep sleeping in. No matter how bad you feel during the day or how many jobs you’ll lose, you’ll continue to bask under the moonlight. It’s not in your nature to turn off the light.

To you, there’s nothing to wake up for but so much to stay awake through. That’s when your ideas happen, your bursts of energy explode and your moments of peace come over you: when there are no distractions, no plans and no obstacles in your way but the expanding horizon of light.

That’s also why you’re smarter. According to research published in The Huffington Post, those who deviate from the normal sleep schedule are considered more intelligent. This finding is supported by research suggesting that those who create new evolutionary patterns (compared to those who stick with the normal patterns developed by our ancestors) are the most progressive.

It makes sense. After all, those who are the first to change (to seek out novelty) are always the most progressive and intelligent in a society. And according to researchers at the University of Madrid, after analyzing the sleeping patterns of 1,000 students, they found that those who went to bed later (and consequently woke up later) scored higher on inductive reasoning tests, a test normally associated with general intelligence.

They don’t deny the moments when they’re having a creative breakthrough.

ABC Science reported on a study conducted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan in which researchers asked 120 men and women of varying ages to fill out a questionnaire asking if they were of night or morning disposition.

Then, researchers asked participants to do a series of three tests designed to measure creative thinking. Researchers scored the completed activities on originality, elaboration, fluidity and flexibility factors. According to their findings, “evening types aced each test based on these criteria, while morning and intermediate type people struggled to get scores over 50.”

Lead author of the study, Marina Giampietro, believes that this creativity is bred from the “development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions.”

It’s all about what you’re doing with the time you have. Yes, early birds might be more productive, but late risers are more creative.

Early risers take advantage of those morning hours to do mundane activities like go to the gym, make coffee and get to work early, but it’s the late sleepers who really take advantage of the night -- the special time to create and invent something new.

They experience the parts of the day during which they’re awake for the better.

When you’re getting up at 6 am, you’re usually passing out by nine, which means you’re already tired by five. You may start your day with a burst of energy, but by mid-afternoon you’re already checked out.

Early risers are, in fact, screwing themselves over for the second part of the day.

Researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium examined 15 “extreme early risers” and 15 “extreme night owls.” They measured the participants’ brain activity after they first woke up and then once again 10.5 hours later.

Both the night owls and the early birds had the same level of productivity when they first woke up. Ten hours later, however, early birds had “lower activity in brain regions linked to attention and the circadian master clock, compared to night owls."

They’re actually ahead of everyone else…and less stressed.

It all depends on how you look at cycles. It may look like the late risers are missing out on the morning hours, but the early risers are actually missing out on an entire night.

The late risers are ahead of the cycle and experiencing chunks of time that early risers sleep through. But late risers are in better moods throughout the day.

According to the BBC, a team of researchers in Westminster analyzed the saliva of 42 volunteers with different sleep schedules eight times throughout the day for two days. After analyzing all the samples, they found that the people who woke up earlier had higher levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, than those who like to sleep in.

Consequently, the early risers reported muscle aches, cold symptoms and headaches. Researchers also found they were in worse moods.

Clow believes "early awakening was associated with greater powers of concentration, being busier and experiencing more hassles throughout the day as well as reporting more anger and less energy at the end of the day. On the other hand late wakers were more leisurely and less busy.”

Life is all about how you look at it, but it should really be about how (and when) we wake up with it. For all the flack and abuse late risers have been getting throughout the years, stick to your schedule, and don’t feel bad about another missed alarm.

At the end of the day (literally), you’re better off because of it.