Some sites claim that people with higher intelligence tend to go to bed later.

For example:

People with higher IQs are more apt to be nocturnal night-owls. Those with lower IQs tend to restrict their activities primarily to daytime. People who prefer to go to bed early, and who are early-risers, demonstrate "morningness," whereas those whose sleep patterns are shifted later demonstrate "eveningness." Researchers say eveningness tends to be a characteristic of those with higher IQs.

Recently, scientists discovered a quirky side effect to having a high IQ: You tend to stay up until later hours and get up later in the morning.

With marginal 'evidence' and no reason why this is like this (except for a nonsense reason along the lines that humans are not nocturnal; so to change that habit you must have some intelligence. To me, this sounds like a terrible explanation).

In my own circle of acquaintances, I've noticed that the more intelligent people tend sleep later than other people. The most common reason I heard is something along the lines of "I think too much at night." Of course it's well known that people with problems/depression have more trouble sleeping, because of this reason (they think about the problems too much).

Do intelligent people sleep later; and why?

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    Because the early worm deserves the bird? Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 23:04
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    This is one of those questions where we can just quote your own references back at you. The Winnipeg Free Press article quotes from several scientists that have confirmed the correlation. The Cracked article links directly to a PDF that explores several of the explanations that have been suggested, conducts an experiment which provides support for the Savanna–IQ Interaction Hypothesis, but calls for more study as it isn't conclusive. Have you looked at these already?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 2:33
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    Can we change the wording from intelligent people to "people with high IQ"? I do not think the two necessarily coincide.
    – nico
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 9:25
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    @nico I don't think that would be a good idea. While one can argue that the IQ-test is not a perfect measurement of intelligence, (almost) no test is a perfect measurement of what's tested. You also never hear people say 'X is good at math tests' instead of the simple 'X is good at math'. Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 14:46
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    @Benjol: no, not really referring to that. The problem is that you can clearly define "being good at math" as "being able to easily solve math problem", while a clear definition of "being intelligent" seems to be lacking.
    – nico
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


There are several papers which support this claim:

420 participants performed two self-report inventories assessing circadian type, as well as measures of intelligence from two psychometric batteries: CAM-IV and the ASVAB. The results indicate that, contrary to conventional folk wisdom, evening-types are more likely to have higher intelligence scores. This result is discussed in relation to current theories concerning the nature of human cognitive abilities.

Source: Roberts RD, Kyllonen PC. Morningness-eveningness and intelligence: early to bed, early to rise will likely make you anything but wise! Pers Individ Dif. 2000;27(6):1123-33. PubMed PMID: 11542922.

The psychophysiological data derived in this study suggests that evening types typically outperform morning types in various measures such working memory capacity and verbal intelligence simply because they invest more cognitive resources than morning types.

Source: Nowack K, van der Meer E. Impact of chronotype and time perspective on the processing of scripts. Int J Psychophysiol. 2014 May;92(2):49-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2014.02.004. PubMed PMID: 24548429.

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