If you want to get ahead, be a night owl

New research suggests being early to rise won't make you wealthy or wise

'There is a romance," said Robert Louis Stevenson, "about all those who are abroad in the black hours." Now research on teenagers suggests that night owls, far from being lazy, indisciplined slug-a-beds who can't get up in the morning, may be indeed be brighter than the much better-regarded early risers.

In scientific tests, evening types showed more of the kind of intelligence that has been linked to prestigious jobs and higher incomes. Larks or morning types, however, tend to get better school grades, possibly because lessons were at the wrong time of the day for night owls.

Researchers carried out tests comparing larks and night owls. The body clocks of some people make them evening types, night owls who stay up late and sleep in later in the morning. Others, the larks, are at their peak in the morning, going to bed and getting up early.

Nearly 1,000 teenagers took part in the research at the University of Madrid, which involved a battery of tests that included measures of school performance and inductive intelligence. Academic performance was checked using final grades in the major subjects.

Around one in four of the teenagers were classed as morning types, and 32 per cent as night owls, with the remainder fitting neither profile.

The results showed that evening types scored higher than morning types on inductive reasoning, which has been shown to be a good estimate of general intelligence and one of the strongest predictors of academic performance. A further piece of good news for the owls is that inductive reasoning is linked to innovative thinking and more prestigious occupations, and tends to earn higher incomes.

Famous night owls include President Obama, Charles Darwin, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley.

One theory to explain the extra brain power of night owls is that intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal because in ancestral times any activities at night would have been novel and would, therefore, have been more likely to attract people with inquisitive minds.

Other research with adults has similarly found night owls to be brighter. One study showed that evening types among US Air Force recruits were significantly more able to think laterally than morning types, even when they were evaluated in the morning. A University of Southampton study found that night owls had larger mean incomes and were more likely to have a comfortable home, a non-manual job and access to a car.

The study also found that night owls' school achievement was rated lower than that of larks, by about 8 per cent. The researchers suggested that evening types might be adversely affected by morning school schedules.

Among famous larks are George W Bush (reportedly always in bed by 10), Thomas Edison, Napoleon, Condoleezza Rice, who always wakes at 4.30 in the morning, and Ernest Hemingway.

"It is an interesting study," said Professor Jim Horne, of Loughborough University. "Evening types tend to be the more extrovert creative types, the poets, artists and inventors, while the morning types are the deducers, as often seen with civil servants and accountants.

"We have looked at morning and evening types and we found that personalities tended to be different. Evening types were more social, more people-oriented. They will probably be good at cryptic crosswords, while morning types go for the more logical ones."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Data/ MI Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

    Project Manager with some Agile experience

    £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

    Biology Teacher

    £100 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Urgently required teacher of Bi...

    PPA Cover Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments