According to Sleep Doctor, Dr Michael Breus, each of us have a particular Chronotype that best fits our sleeping habits. The 4 chronotypes he refers to are the Dolphin, Lion, Bear and Wolf. A chronotype is your body’s natural disposition to be awake and asleep at certain times. Closely related to your circadian rhythm they are indications of your biological clock ticking away. Your body is programmed to function better at certain times of the day.
Why is it important to know your chronotype?
By understanding your chronotype you are able to improve your performance, your alertness in the morning, your appetite and your core body temperature. Knowing your chronotype can help you plan around your productivity windows so you can accomplish more when you have the energy to do so.
Based on your chronotype there are recommended guidelines for the best times to eat, exercise and drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Here is a brief overview of each chronotype.
The “early bird” chronotype, Lions are early morning optimists, type A personalities, list makers, and regimented thinkers. They wake up early in the morning and go to bed early and are most productive before noon. Lions tend to perform better if they exercise before breakfast and eat early meals throughout the day. Caffeine intake is ideally early in the morning or mid-afternoon.
The most common chronotype are bears, the solar sleepers. You wake with the sun and sleep with the moon. These people are often extraverted, open minded and social. Bears eat breakfast early and exercise mid-morning. Caffeine intake is just before midday or just after.
The Wolf represents the “night owls,” the late-night creatives, authors, artists, and out-of-the-box thinkers. A Wolf is much more energetic waking up later in the day with bursts of energy in the evening. For maximum performance, a Wolf should exercise after work hours, eat breakfast at mid-morning and drink caffeine at lunch time.
Dolphins often have fragmented sleep patterns, are very intelligent, high-strung, sensitive sleepers who are often easily disturbed by noise or light. Early risers, Dolphins perform best exercising before breakfast and having caffeine mid-morning.
What’s my Chronotype?
Your chronotype depends on several factors, including genetics, environment, age, and sex, according to one study.
To find out which Chronotype you most align with, check out Dr Michael Breus’s quiz.
Easy Tips for Better Sleep
- Be active for 20 -30 minutes each day.
- Eat well balanced whole food meals.
- Wait 90 minutes after you wake up to drink caffeine.
- Unwind before bedtime through activities such as muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, a warm drink or reading a book.
- Avoid screens and blue light for an hour before bedtime to ensure you can fall asleep easier.
- Establish a healthy sleep routine with regular wake-up times and 8 hours of sleep.
- Create a sleep sanctuary. Ensure your sleep surface is comfortable, supportive, promotes even alignment and minimises pressure across the body. Try our Find Your Mattress survey for more information.
- Ensure you sleep in a comfortable temperature.
Being able to identify and understand how your chronotype affects your sleep and wake time can help you maximize productivity, gain insight into your health, and learn new ways to increase the quality of your sleep.
Your chronotype will change as you get older which is perfectly normal. It’s important to be aware of this and relax into the changes as they come, so you are able to wake up refreshed regardless of your chronotype.
For further information check out the Sleep Doctor.