EARLY to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise, so goes the old proverb. But it seems the advice holds little truth.
Research now suggests that if you want to be the wisest, you really need to stay up – well, until 10.04pm at least.
This is supposedly the best time for a eureka moment, according to research.
And around a quarter of us feel we formulate our most cunning plans when we are burning the midnight oil, a survey of 1426 adults found.
By contrast, despite what many managers may believe, daytime in the office is not conducive to blue-sky thinking.
The afternoon, when most people are at work, is when an overwhelming 98 per cent of those polled say they feel most "uninspired".
The creativity drought just gets worse over the nine-to-five working day, hitting rock bottom at 4.33pm.
When asked about methods they use to get their creative juices flowing, 44 per cent said they took a shower.
Unfortunately for mankind, even when we do get a stroke of genius, more than half of our ideas are lost for ever.
When inspiration strikes, 58 per cent of us fail to write the idea down immediately and forget it, according to the poll conducted by hotel chain Crowne Plaza. Women were better than men at jotting down their best ideas for posterity.
A third of over-35s chose to scribble the thought on the back of their hand, perhaps having learnt from experience how forgetful they are.
The findings echo an Italian study in 2006 that found those who stay up late have the most original ideas.
Night owls came up with the most creative thoughts – perhaps because they are more likely to be unconventional and bohemian than early birds – according to the research by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
Perhaps creative types have a good reason to stay up.
Research in February 2006 showed creative types such as artists and poets hook up with two or three times as many sex partners as other people throughout their life.
A UK study by Newcastle University of 425 men and women found the creative types averaged between four and 10 partners, while the less creative folks had typically had three.