One of the many oddities I noticed about Bend almost immediately after moving here was how early in the morning the inhabitants wake up. Winter or summer, cold or hot, rain or snow, they awaken long before the rosy fingers of dawn touch the tops of the Cascades and often are outside running, cycling, climbing rocks or doing myriad other "healthy outdoor lifestyle" things while it's still dark.
And of course they go to bed correspondingly early, which is one reason Bend's nightlife rivals that of a Carmelite nunnery.
I've never been able to figure out the reason for this early-rising fetish. Is is a holdover from the era when Bend had a primarily agricultural economy and folks had to rise before dawn to milk the chickens and slop the cows, or whatever? That didn't seem like a fully satisfactory explanation.
But now some research reported in Psychology Today sheds light on the question. Quite possibly, it appears, people in Bend rise early and go to bed early because they're stupid.
"Night owls are smarter than other people, and now we may know why," the story says. "The modern world contains many features our slow-to-evolve brains still find unfamiliar — cars, TVs, hot dogs on a stick. But the world has always thrown new stuff at us, and brighter humans may adapt more ably. ... Because the nocturnal lifestyle allowed by electricity didn't exist 10,000 years ago, we must now rely on general intelligence to override our early-to-bed instincts. So those with more of it stay up later."
The article mentions research by Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, who tracked bedtimes and wake-up times for 20-year-old people of varying levels of intelligence. The results are quite intriguing: On weekends (when not compelled to rise early for a job) the "very bright" subjects (IQ of 125 or higher) awakened, on average, at 11:07 a.m., a full 58 minutes later than the "very dull" ones (IQ of less than 75), and went to bed one hour and nine minutes later.
Since the average Bendian appears to rise at 4:10 a.m., I'd guess the average IQ in this town hovers somewhere around 25. Which would be consistent with my other observations of the Bendians' behavior, such as their driving skills.
And the fact that they live here in the first place.
ADDENDUM: On the other hand, there is this: "Night owls tend to be less reliable, more emotionally unstable, and more likely to have problems with addictions and eating disorders, according to a 2008 study by psychologist Marina Giamnietro. They are also more likely to drink alcohol and smoke, says Dutch psychiatrist Walter van den Broek ..." More here. It might also be noted that research shows more intelligent people are more likely to drink, smoke and dabble with drugs than dummies.