Are you a night owl or an early bird? If you’re an owl you like going to sleep later at night and waking up later in the mornings, while early birds go to sleep (and wake up) earlier.
Horses for courses, right? HuffPost UK even made a resident night owl and lark swap their routines for a week – you can read more what happened here.
Except now a new study from the University of Ottowga has got us talking about whether there’s a link between our sleep routines and intelligence.
The study analysed the bedtime, rise-time and total sleep time of 66 women for 10 days. The women involved in the study wore an activity monitor for 10 days, and their cognitive abilities were tested at the end of the study period.
Those who were early birds were, unsurprsingly, found to have a more circadian rhythm, and this is what drives intelligence, according to Stuart Fogel, director of the University of Ottawa’s Sleep Research Laboratory.
While the study found that night owls are likely to have better verbal abilities, when age was taken into consideration, early birds in older adulthood actually had the better verbal intelligence.
Dr Kat Lederle, sleep scientist and therapist explained to Stylist: “The circadian rhythm is generated by the master clock in the brain, an area of 50,000 cells near the hypothalamus [the hormonal control centre of the brain].”
Earlier studies suggested a link between later bedtimes and intelligence, but “this new study shows that it is not that straightforward,” said Dr Lederle, who cautioned against setting night owls and early birds in competition – both sleep types have evolutionary advantages and roles in society, apparently.
But does this research mean that it’s preferable to be a morning person?
Catherine Wilde, who is the founder of Soul Care Mom, and a qualified life coach, and yoga and meditation teacher, previously told HuffPost UK that waking up earlier can increase productivity levels, at least, because individuals will have more time to get things done.
However, as the early morning hours are not productive for everyone, she believes ultimately people should wake at a time that works best for them.
Which is good news considering, most of us struggle with getting up in the mornings. Most Brits apparently set their alarm for 6:47am, but then hit snooze for another 25 minutes before eventually getting out of bed.
And a small warning: snoozing your alarm can negatively impact your day. “This is because a five-to-ten-minute snooze time only gives you enough time to go into ‘light sleep’ as it waits to enter the deep sleep state, otherwise known as REM,” internal sleep expert, Martin Seeley, previously told HuffPost UK.