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Early Bird Does Not Get the Worm: Late Risers Are Wealthier and Wiser than Morning People

Update Date: Mar 25, 2013 10:20 AM EDT

It goes against everything our parents have told us, but new research on teenagers suggest that those who burn the midnight oil are more likely to be healthier, wealthier and wiser than early risers.

In a study of around 1,000 teenagers by the University of Madrid, researchers found that teens who preferred to stay up late showed the kind of intelligence associated with mo prestigious jobs and higher incomes.

However, early risers or "morning people" tended to score better exam grades.  Researchers said this could be because lessons are held at the wrong of day for night owls.

The study looked at the habits and body clocks of teens to determine whether they liked to stay up late and sleep in later in the morning or preferred to go to bed and wake up early. 

Researchers also looked at the students' school performance, inductive reasoning (problem solving abilities) and academic scores in major subjects.

Researchers found that people who preferred to stay up late at night scored higher than morning people on inductive reasoning, which previous research has shown to be a good predictor of general intelligence and academic performance.  Night owls also had a greater capacity to think conceptually and analytically.  Researchers said such abilities are associated with innovative thinking, better occupations and better incomes.

However, morning risers tended to do better in school, leading researchers to suggest that evening types might be disadvantaged by morning school schedules.

According to The Telegraph, a previous study on US Air Force recruits found that late risers were better at lateral thinking than morning types.  Another study conducted at the University of Southampton also found that night owls had bigger paychecks and higher standards of living.

Some famous nigh owls include President Obama, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Keith Richards and Elvis Presley.

Famous morning larks include George W Bush, who is reportedly always in bed by 10pm, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, Ernest Hemingway and Condoleezza Rice, who reportedly wakes at 4.30am everyday.

"It is an interesting study," said Professor Jim Horne, of Loughborough University, according to The Independent. "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.

"We have looked at morning and evening types and we found that personalities tended to be different. Evening types were more social, more people-oriented. They will probably be good at cryptic crosswords, while morning types go for the more logical ones," he added.

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