The “early bird gets the worm” is a pretty popular phrase that reflects the widespread belief that early risers get more done than night owls. Supposedly, pulling all-nighters means you’re less likely to get as much done throughout the day than someone who’s in bed right after the evening news.
But with the ever-increasing use of the Internet, especially at night, researchers have begun to take a closer look at the night owl, and their findings might just surprise you. Check out the following five ways night owls rule the productivity roost!
They Feed Off Energy Bursts
You’d think that you get so much energy for the entire day, and as it goes on, that energy runs low until you hit the sack, like a well that runs dry as people drink from it. But a study published in the “Science” journal and cited by Newsweek found that night owls actually were more mentally alert than early risers at night, owing to a “burst” of energy.
Try to be reasonable with your night owl activities, even if the energy flood is hard to ignore sometimes. Messing with your body’s natural dozing patterns or depriving yourself of needed sleep can lead to crankiness, lack of focus and even physical health problems, per the National Health Service.
They’re Surprisingly Successful
Many night owls have achieved just as much if not more so in the way of success when compared to early risers. Famous night owls include President Obama, Winston Churchill, and Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer.
The key to being an accomplished night owl is to not push your luck, as in giving into sleep when your body signals for it, and not to worry about what the early risers in your life think of your nocturnal habits. Stick with your usual patterns guilt-free as long as you’re not lacking sleep because of it!
They’re Pretty Intelligent, Usually
Of course, any type of intelligence measuring must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, but some studies have linked night owl behavior to higher levels of intelligence. Researcher Satoshi Kanazawa, whose study was published in various journals and covered in “Psychology Today” found that in a sample group of children, the more intelligent ones grew up to be night owls as adults.
Don’t assume being a night owl automatically makes you more intelligent than an early riser, however. While you might be smarter than some early risers in your life, there are always exceptions when it comes to this particular rule, as intelligence can be influenced by many different factors.
They’ve Got A Focus Edge
Night owls, as evidenced by some research, are able to focus and concentrate better than early birds in the later hours of the day. A study out of the Cyclotron Research Centre at the University of Liège in Belgium compared night owls and early risers’ levels of focus after certain points in the day. The team of scientists found that night owls did better than their early bird counterparts on the attention-sustaining task used in the study after 10 hours had passed.
They’re A Little More Flexible
Being able to adjust more easily than early risers to a nine to five schedule is something commonly seen in night owls, per University of Loughborough Professor Jim Horne, author of “Sleepfaring: A Journey Through the Science of Sleep.” Simply put, the idea of a late-night person being unable to get up in the mornings for a job is a myth. Night owls can adjust to an earlier start just fine, although it may be a bit of a challenge in the beginning, until the body adjusts. Make sure you use an extra alarm if you’re a night owl who needs to be up earlier to make the transition as smoothly as possible.
The Fine Print
Night owls do have disadvantages, too. According to WebMD, night owls depend on caffeine more and are more likely to be depressed than early birds. If you’re feeling as if you rely too much on caffeine, try trimming your night owl activities back a bit and cutting down on your coffee or tea intake. While a little caffeine doesn’t hurt, you don’t want to have an excessive intake or be unable to function fully without it.
Speak to your doctor if you’re feeling depressed and are concerned. Depression is a serious condition that may require medication and counseling, and the sooner you get help, the better.