Are you a morning person, someone who likes to get up early to tackle your to-do list? Or are you someone whose creative juices don't even get flowing until after dinner? It turns out that your preferences might affect your lot in life.
A new study from researchers at the University of Madrid evaluated the sleeping patterns of 1,000 teenagers and compared this information with the teens' scores on intelligence tests and their grades. What they learned was that while early birds may get the worm — and better grades — night owls had the kind of intelligence linked to higher-paying jobs down the road.
For the study, researchers classified the teens as either morning or night people based on sleeping patterns. About 25 percent of the teens were morning people, one-third were night owls and the rest had natural rhythms that fell somewhere in between.
Next, they looked at each teen's school records and asked them to take additional tests to measure intelligence. The teens who liked to stay up late performed better on the intelligence tests than the early risers, particularly in areas of inductive reasoning, a skill often considered a good overall measure of later job earnings.
However, the night owls had grades in school that were about 8 percent lower across the board than their early rising peers. Researchers think this might be because most tests are administered first thing in the morning, when night-preferring teens aren't yet at their peak.
The Madrid study confirmed earlier research showing that night owls may be more creative and intelligent than their morning-centric peers. One possible theory for the connection is that, from an evolutionary perspective, people who like to stay up late are deviating from the norm (when all activities centered around daylight) and thus might have more inquisitive minds.