Night owls are mentally alert for a longer part of the day than early birds.
People tend to think night owls are unproductive creatures, since they sleep in while the early birds are already sitting at their desks. A 2009 study, however, shows that the opposite is true.
Researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium monitored 15 extreme night owls and 16 extreme early birds in a lab. The volunteers had their brain activity measured an hour and a half after waking up, and again 10.5 hours after waking up.
In the morning test, the early birds and the night owls performed nearly the same in their responsiveness. But there was a gap 10.5 hours later: the night owls showed faster reaction times and were more awake than the early birds.
Appearances can be deceiving. While the early risers look like they're hard at work throughout the day, the night owls seem to be more consistent overall in their productivity levels.
Researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Miami found that evening-oriented people are also more creative than their morning and intermediate counterparts. As Professor Marina Giampietro explains, being in a nocturnal environment "may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions." Not only are evening types smarter, but their unusual habits also help them to find creative solutions and alternatives.
Whether you're morning or evening-oriented is dictated by genetics, not by choice. As it turns out, a small group of brain cells are in charge of our internal clock and preferences for the time of day.
So which one are you ? a "night owl" or an "early bird"? 😊