Our Blog

An Ode to Napping and Night Owls: When Do You Feel Most Alert?

Posted September 26, 2012 10:28 PM by Angie Mareino

Finally! I will not be ashamed! Let the truth be told: I am a night owl whose sleep patterns resemble sprints, not marathons. 

Most people look at me like I've grown a tail and five heads when I say that I could easily stay up until 3AM every night if I had my way. (And yes. I've tried warm milk, hot baths, exercise, Tylenol PM, meditation, and a strict bedtime schedule - even all at once!- to no avail.) At the end of the day (har har),I still prefer the wee hours of the morn. It's when I do my best thinking (this ramble, aside?) and feel the most alert. 

So, at a rather sprightly 10:18 p.m. this evening, I'm delighted to share a scientific study concludes night owls -- those who are not-so-early to bed and not-so-early to rise -- might be hard-wired (sleep patterns depend at least somewhat on genetics) to be wise. Satoshi Kanazawa reports his findings that night owls boast higher IQs: "eveningness" or a tendency to stay up late is a leading indicator. 

Better yet, David K. Randall, author of  “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep," writes in a New York Times' op-ed, the notion of sleeping in eight-hour chunks is a relatively new and perhaps not such a natural state for humans after all. Randall notes there are plenty of literary references to "first sleep" and "second sleep": the gentle ease back to dreamland after a few nocturnal hours of thinking and generally letting the mind wander. Apparently, the body doesn't necessarily require that REM, the deep sleep that allows the body to recharge, occur in blocks - just that you get it. Does this mean America can finally embrace the siesta? 

Doubtful, but a girl can dream. (Just not literally if she's on the clock.) Tonight, I'm celebrating by staying up late, naturally. I already feel so much smarter. That is, at least, until 9 a.m. strikes. 

When do you do your best thinking? Morning, noon, or night?

Take this quiz from the New York Times to find out if you're a classic morning person.