Are night owls more intelligent than early birds?
Loved it when I came across research indicating that might be the case. Am tired of hearing about the benefits of getting up at the crack of dawn. It’s a habit we have inherited from traditional societies when mankind rose with the sun and went to bed at sunset. But does it really suit the world we live in today?
One study carried out by The University of Liege looking at how our brains are able to focus attention throughout the day found differences in rhythm between “morning” and “evening” people. Their conclusion is that early risers get tired earlier and are hence less productive.
Kanzawa claims more intelligent children go to bed later as adults
And according to another study by Satoshi Kanazawa,”Why Night Owls are more intelligent than morning larks” evening people are of higher intelligence than morning people. He claims that analysis of a large representative sample of young Americans show that more intelligent children grow up to be more nocturnal as adults than less intelligent children.
Both studies believe that evening people usually get more work done and resist the pressure to sleep better than the larks.
Do morning people have the upper hand in business?
Considering such conclusions I can’t help wondering why is it considered that when it comes to being successful in business it’s a virtue to be an early riser and that evening people will be less successful?
Honestly doubt the conclusion that evening people are more intelligent. It has nothing to do with intelligence but body rhythm, endurance and energy. For some reasons we are all different in those areas but the fact that evening people seem to be more productive could be of importance to society.
Time to rethink?
From what I understand about 20% of the population of the world are night owls and only 10% are early birds. And most of us, 70%, can handle both. Honestly why are we adapting business hours to suit 10% of the population of the world?
Intelligence enables flexibility
Kanazaka correctly points out that the more intelligent people are the more prone they are to adapt behaviour that is beneficial to the human race – as opposed to doing things the way they have always been done. Initially new behaviour is scorned but then become the norm. Much of what we do today will be considered absurd by future generations.
Flexible hours a sign of change?
More and more businesses have flexible hours above all because many businesspeople are night owls. And we shouldn’t forget that many intelligent people are entrepreneurs. The current recession is also creating an abundance of small businesses, most of them with much more flexible hours than huge corporations.
Will next generation be prepared to get up at dawn?
Another aspect is that younger people are more likely to be night owls and not happy to get up in the morning while pensioners frequently fall into the rhythm of getting up and going to bed with the sun. But they are now retiring and younger people will fill their positions. And they may not be as willing as the previous generation to adapt their body rhythm to the company. They may simply leave and find jobs where they don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.
So is it time for the business world to wake up and realize that things are changing? Having workers coming in later and working later will, according to the studies, result in increased productivity and eliminate the afternoon fatigue so obvious in all offices.
What’s your opinion? Do you agree with the studies that night owls are more intelligent than early birds? Or do you believe it’s the other way round? Or maybe you agree with me that it’s not about intelligence but other factors? Will more and more businesses implement flexible hours? Would starting later and working later increase productivity? Is it likely that working hours will change? Will night owls have the upper hand in the future?
(Photo: United States Government Work – Flickr)