Night People Smart, Morning People Happy?

I remember as a kid staying overnight at my grandparents’ house during the summers – the days always seemed to start out with the two of them getting up at (what seemed to me) a ridiculously early hour. They’d sip black coffee and chat and my grandma would fry up some bacon and scramble an egg for my cousin and I when we finally rolled out of bed well after the sun had said it’s good mornings and roosters had crowed their songs.

“The early bird gets the worm!”

they’d say…or

“Early to bed early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

As intelligent as the two of them were and as much as I wish it was a joy for me to get up at 5:00am, this study researching circadian type or “diurnal preference” has left me feeling vindicated, to a degree, regarding my tendency towards late nights and mornings. Indicating the contrary of the old adage, the article seems to say that people who stay up late and sleep in are, in fact, a bit more intelligent. Did you really need proof in the form of a scientific study to show that you that night-owls are smarter? Yah, neither did I.

However, this study does say that “morningness” has a significant positive correlation with life satisfaction and I can definitely agree that I feel better and more productive when I get up early and get my day started with the sun (and a cup of caffeine).

So, what does all that tell us? Not much other than there are lots of studies out there looking into all sorts of things you’d never have expected. Interesting, to be sure – helpful, maybe not?

So, life satisfaction and intelligence-wise, who do you think wins? Night owls or morning glories?

I’d love to stick around and see what you all have to say, but none of your answers will change the fact that it’s 10pm and my alarm is set for 4:45am tomorrow. Wonder what forced early-rising is correlated with? I’m speculating a positive correlation with amount of caffeine consumed prior to 10am.

Image 1: photostock |

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

11 Comments + Add Comment

  • I’m fully in support of the idea that being a night owl makes one smarter, as that’s definitely where my tendencies lie. As for the forced early waking, it certainly made me less happy, and I didn’t need a study to prove it. I’m glad all of my surgery rotations are behind me and I’m no longer forced to get up before 6 am.

  • “Early to bed early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” the best line of success!

  • I like to wake up early and feel a refreshed mind, but I always stay up late and wake up late (and then late for class)…but I think life satisfaction comes before a little bit of intelligence-wise :)

  • haha great post! Now I don’t feel so bad about my owl tendencies!

  • I feel that I study better at night; much more materials stick in my head when I study late at night. Thankfully I manage to stay as a happy owl! :)

  • Hilarious! The older I get, the earlier I go to bed and the earlier I wake up. Of course, having a little person assists me with this. When I lay down with her, my eyes close. I can’t help it. :) I will, however, say this… the smartest people I know tended to be up far too late at night. :)

  • Nice post! I would be much happier to stay up late and wake up very early. I have to admit that late night (between 10 pm to 2 am) is my most productive hours of the day, and waking up very early gives me the feeling of having more time to finish tasks I have to do that day. Big thanks to caffeine anyway. 😀

  • Very interesting article. I must say that I find at least a small amount of satisfaction in the results. I have long been annoyed by the frequently expressed attitude the morning people are somehow superior to nightowls. I always find the smugness to be infuriating. We are simply different. We nightowls are not lazy but we are forced to conform to a world that embraces the early morning culture. We can peacefully and respectfully coexist.

  • I stumbled on your blog today and have read and enjoyed quite a few of the entries. While I’ve never worried too much about the fact I don’t conform to most people’s sleep standards, it is nice to know this study is out there. Fortunately, I have been lucky that in every job I’ve had the normal schedule was such that I could usually sleep in.

    Interesting you mention your grandparents’, as I remember staying at my grandmother’s. She always started the morning with black coffee at what seemed a ridiculous hour to me. If I was up that early with her, it was only briefly and then back to bed until at least ten, eleven if I could manage it. Thanks for the memory jog :-)

  • Haha, it’s 10pm right now (in Ukraine) and I have to be up at 4:45am to catch a train! Looking forward to my own coffee in the morning :)

  • Buttt the second mouse gets the cheese :)

Leave a comment

Trackback URL Link:   

About The Author

I'm an ObGyn. I started this blog as a medical student (some would call that doctor school) and now I'm working as an Ob/Gyn, which is seriously the coolest job ever. I'm a twin mom and recently added a baby brudder to the mix. My life story through November 2010 can be viewed here. The events in the many years following can be summed up as wedding bells, books, exams, babies, and doctoring. I started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit medicine and move to Hollywood, but that hasn't if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact, I'm probably a spambot. Or possibly a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.

Dr. Jones on Instagram

Load More
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

Get Email Updates

Enter Your Email Address:


  • |+| 2018 (1)
  • |+| 2017 (3)
  • |+| 2014 (1)
  • |+| 2013 (10)
  • |+| 2012 (24)
  • |+| 2011 (95)
  • |+| 2010 (17)
  • |+| 2008 (1)
  • |+| 2007 (1)