Do smart people need less sleep? What are the benefits of sleep? There are many reasons why people think that smart people sleep less than the rest of us. Let’s see if any of it is true!
Do Smart People Sleep Less ?
Are People Who Need Less Sleep Smarter: Does a Genius Sleep Less?
Studies were conducted to see if smart people sleep the same amount of time as, well, not-so-smart people. Among other interesting facts, it turns out that smart people are more likely to be able to teach their brains new habits, such as staying up late.
Sleep Smarts: Keep Dreaming and Keep Climbing
There are many reasons why people think that smart people sleep less.
Some say smart people sleep less because they are more “alert”. Some say that smart people sleep less because they are always thinking. Others say that smart people sleep less because they are busier. Some even say that smart people sleep less because they do not want to waste time sleeping!
Sleeping Times: Do intelligent people have less sleep?
People have always been curious about what the smartest people in the world do when they are awake. Do they sleep less? And what do they do with their extra time, especially those who are self-made billionaires?
Sleep and Intelligence Studies: Do smart people need less sleep?
Is there a Relationship Between Less Sleep and Intelligence?
- A study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that sleep deprivation can lead to changes in brain activity and connectivity. These changes are associated with lower intelligence scores.
- The journal Intelligence published that individuals who are morning types tend to have higher intelligence scores than those who are evening types.
- A study published in the journal Nature found that individuals who were trained to perform a complex motor task after a period of sleep showed greater improvement in performance. This was compared to those who were trained after a period of wakefulness.
Kanazawa Sleep and Intelligence Study: Night Owls Are Smarter
Just because you stay up late and feel like a zombie doesn’t mean you’re smarter! You need to remain clear-headed. This means you are able to read and process information or can complete the manual tasks required of you without endangering anyone. If you can do this, it means that your brain is able to do more work than those who tire easily.
1. Intelligence and Night Owls: Do smart people more active at night?
Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, found that intelligence and night owl tendencies are connected. Kanazawa surveyed Americans in their twenties, and found the following about their sleeping habits:
2. Sleep and Intelligence: IQ and Sleeping Patterns
- Those with an IQ of over 125 tended to go to bed around 12:30 a.m. and wake up around 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and go to bed around 1:45 a.m. and wake up around 11:00 a.m. on weekends.
- Those of normal intelligence tended to sleep from 12:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and from 1:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on weekends.
- Those of below-normal intelligence tended to sleep from 11:45 p.m. to 7:20 a.m. on weekdays and from 12:35 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on weekends.
Read Kanazawa’s article about sleep and smartness here.
Less Sleep is a Bad Habit: Smart People Train Their Brains To Stay Awake Longer
Spoiler Alert: Studies show smart people sleep the same amount of time as not-so-smart people.
It turns out that smart people are more likely to be able to teach their brains new habits – such as staying up late. Staying up late was very strange to our ancestors. Our ancestors might have been happier with a simple existence without the internet and Netflix! But we have moved to a more complicated world than what our ancestors lived in.
Even a Genius Must Sleep
In the past, people stayed up late if they were under threat. We now have many more reasons to stay awake, except if there’s no electricity!
High IQ Has a Bad Habit: Less Sleep
But before you start saying ‘ Long live insomniacs’ bear in mind that there is research demonstrating that people who sleep less die younger. In addition, night owls are considered one of the bad habits associated with higher IQs.
Do Geniuses Have Trouble Sleeping?
Just so you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for everyone. So don’t go depriving yourself of sleep now just so you can be like Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill!
Get Some Genius Sleep: Or is this nightmarish?
- Margaret Thatcher apparently got by on just four hours of sleep
- Winston Churchill would sleep for four hours and take a 90-minute nap
- Despite Thatcher’s example, politicians are the group with the most people who get more than nine hours of sleep each night. South African politicians nap in Parliament while medical interns are so overworked that they fall asleep while driving. What an exhausting nightmare!
- Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi only gets two to four hours of sleep a night and Barack Obama six hours. We all saw how Obama aged. Think about it!
- Nikola Tesla, the ‘grandfather of electricity,’ would be lights out for two hours each night
- Leonardo Da Vinci used the Uberman cycle. This involves taking 20 to 40 minutes naps every four hours.
- The Dymaxion cycle, created by Richard Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller – a renowned American neo-futuristic architect who died in 1983, meant he slept for 30 minutes every six hours.
7 Side Effects of a Less Sleep
Now seems to be a good time to introduce the disadvantages of too little sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to serious side effects and harm. Take a look at this list if you’re still awake:
1. Impairment of cognitive and physical performance:
Lack of sleep can lead to decreased alertness, reaction time, memory, and attention, as well as increased fatigue and decreased motivation.
2. Less sleep increases the risk of mental health problems:
Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
3. Less Sleep can Result in Decreased Immune Function:
Lack of sleep can impair the body’s ability to fight off illness and disease.
4. Less Sleep can Cause Hormonal imbalances:
Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal imbalances, including increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and decreased levels of leptin (the hormone that regulates hunger).
5. Increased risk of accidents: Less Sleep
Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and errors, including car accidents, workplace accidents, and medical errors.
6. Decreased productivity and work performance:
Lack of sleep can lead to decreased productivity and decreased work performance, including decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism, and decreased job performance.
7. Increased risk of chronic diseases: Less Sleep
Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
How much sleep do you need to list 100 uses for a paper clip in less than 20 minutes?
What are the Connections Between Less Sleep and Intelligence?
Why do some people need more sleep than others?
Forcing yourself to stay awake isn’t going to make you any smarter darling!
Less Sleep Won’t Make You Smarter
Sleep for Cognitive Performance: Better Sleep Equals Smarter Functioning
- A study published in the journal Sleep found that sleep is important for cognitive performance and that individuals who have better sleep quality tend to have higher intelligence scores.
- The journal Nature Neuroscience published a study that found that sleep plays a critical role in consolidating memories and that individuals who sleep better tend to have better memory retention.
- Sleep Medicine published a study that found that individuals who sleep less than seven hours per night tend to have lower cognitive functioning, including poorer memory and attention.
- A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on cognitive functioning, including memory, attention, and decision-making.
- Sleep Medicine Reviews published a study that found that there is a bidirectional relationship between sleep and intelligence, with better sleep promoting higher intelligence and higher intelligence promoting better sleep.
- Behavioral Sleep Medicine published a study that found that sleep quality is related to higher levels of cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to switch between different tasks and thought processes.
- A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that individuals who are more flexible in their sleep patterns tend to have higher cognitive functioning compared to those who are more rigid in their sleep patterns.
Sleep Experiments That Make Me Feel Tired
Here are some of the most important sleep experiments and their primary findings:
1. REM sleep and dreaming
This experiment demonstrated that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is associated with dreaming.
2. Sleep deprivation
This experiment showed that lack of sleep can lead to impairments in cognitive and physical performance, mood, and overall well-being.
3. The two-process model of sleep regulation
This theory suggests that two processes regulate sleep: a “homeostatic” process that builds up a sleep drive as the individual stays awake, and a “circadian” process that influences the timing of sleep and wakefulness based on an internal biological clock.
4. Sleep and memory consolidation
This experiment demonstrated that sleep helps to consolidate memories and improve learning.
- Sleep and mental health – This research has found links between sleep and various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- The effects of sleep stages on physical and cognitive performance – This research has shown that different stages of sleep have different effects on physical and cognitive performance, with deep slow-wave sleep being important for physical recovery and REM sleep being important for emotional regulation and creativity.
These experiments have greatly contributed to our understanding of sleep and its importance for health and well-being.
Get a good night’s sleep, it gives you brain power.
The facts above highlight the importance of getting adequate and regular sleep for overall health and well-being.
Adequate and consistent sleep is essential for good health and optimal cognitive functioning, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Research has shown that people who regularly get adequate sleep tend to perform better on cognitive tests and have improved memory and attention compared to those who are sleep-deprived.
It’s also worth noting that individual sleep needs vary, and some people may need more or less sleep than others to feel fully rested and alert. However, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. So, the idea that smart people sleep less may be a myth for most mortals and should not be used as an excuse for skimping on sleep.
Will this reference list help put you to sleep? Less Sleep to More Sleep
- Sleep quality, sleep duration and cognitive performance in Irish community-dwelling older adults: Evidence from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)
- Sleep selectively enhances hippocampus-dependent memory in a healthy elderly population https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.4035
- Cognitive functioning after sleep deprivation – a systematic review.
- Are morning-type individuals smarter than evening-type individuals? A meta-analysis.
- The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Decision Making: A Review.
- Sleep and intelligence: Bidirectional relationships and contextual moderators
- Sleep-dependent motor memory plasticity in the human brain https://www.nature.com/articles/nature08188
- Quality of sleep and cognitive flexibility in healthy older adults.
- Sleep patterns are associated with cognitive flexibility in urban-dwelling young adults
- Sleep deprivation impacts on intrinsic functional connectivity of the hippocampus in a within-subjects design.