Recent article claims sleep habits connected to intelligence

Can the time you go to bed really be due to your intelligence level? According to London School of Economics researcher Satoshi Kanazawa, early birds may not always get the worm.

The Psychology Today article claims that those with a childhood IQ of more than 125 are more likely to be night owls, going to bed weekdays at about 12:30 a.m. and waking up at 7:52 a.m. on average. Those with lower IQs went to bed earlier and got up earlier.

Night owls at St. Thomas don’t seem to think their IQ is correlated with when they go to bed.

“It seems a bit random,” said sophomore Lauren Crawford. “It would make more sense if there was a little bit more substance behind the logic of it.”

Sophomore Emily Schmidtke said her late bedtimes seem to do more harm than good, and she doesn’t think bedtimes are correlated with IQ.

Sophomore Michael Cassady said he thinks intelligence is more of a natural thing.

“If you are doing something unnatural that goes against what you want to do, then it’s going to affect your body in ways that could affect your intelligence,” he said.

According to Kanazawa, the fact that humans even stay up past sundown is a relatively new phenomenon made possible by the domestication of fire and invention of electricity. Prior to that, staying up past sundown was very rare, he said.

But biology professor Chester Wilson questions whether or not the research actually has any significant meaning.

“What it [the research] doesn’t address is ‘What’s the cause?’ and ‘What’s the response?’” Wilson said. “Does staying up late at night make you smarter, or do smarter people stay up late at night, or is there some other thing going on that is really behind it?”

Kanazawa’s research doesn’t mention whether night owls actually do better in school or the workplace, as would be expected by their supposed higher IQs, but other research by Kanazawa has found that Americans with higher IQs are more likely to smoke and consume more alcohol than those with a lower IQ.

So whether you are a night owl or an early bird, Wilson thinks it might not make a difference.

“It [the research] was fun, but I’m not sure there is much there.”

Colleen Schreier can be