Early to bed and early to rise won't make you wealthy and wise, research shows as night owls are linked to high income earnersUniversity of Madrid researchers tested nearly 1,000 teenagersEarly risers do well at school but are outstripped by night owls at work
16:01 GMT, 24 March 2013
08:16 GMT, 25 March 2013
They are most likely to be healthy, wealthy and wise, according to the old adage.
But those who are early to bed and early to rise do not always have the upper hand, researchers say.
They have revealed that night owls are generally brighter and wealthier than those able to get up early in the morning.
The study also found that night owls' achievements at school was rated lower than that of larks, by about eight per cent – possibly because morning school timetables did not create the right conditions for them to learn
Experts from the University of Madrid carried out tests on around 1,000 teenagers and found that those who preferred to stay up late demonstrated the kind of intelligence associated with prestigious jobs and higher incomes.
Larks or ‘morning people’, however, often secured better exam results, possibly because lessons are held at the wrong time of day for night owls.
The researchers examined the habits and body clocks of the youngsters to determine whether they liked to stay up late and sleep in later in the morning, or preferred to go to bed early and were at their peak in the morning.
Famous night owls: Winston Churchill, left, and Charles Darwin succeeded by being late to bed and to rise
School performance and inductive intelligence, or problem solving, were measured and academic grades in the major subjects were also taken into account.
The results showed that evening types scored higher than morning types on inductive reasoning, which has been shown to be a good estimate of general intelligence and a strong indicator of academic performance.
They also had a greater capacity to think conceptually as well as analytically. Such abilities have been linked to innovative thinking, more prestigious occupations and better incomes.
Famous night owls include President Obama, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley.
George W Bush, who is regularly in bed by 10pm, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, Condoleezza Rice, who wakes at 4.30am, and Ernest Hemingway are among those known as larks.
Jim Horne, professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University, said: ‘Evening types tend to be the more extrovert creative types, the poets, artists and inventors, while the morning types are the deducers, as often seen with civil servants and accountants.’
A previous study of US Air Force recruits found evening types were much better at thinking laterally to solve problems than larks.