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It is believed that the mass majority of us have one of four different Chronotypes. These four chronotypes are often referred to as the Bear, Wolf, Lion or Dolphin. What are Chronotypes you ask? They are different biological rhythms that determine when is best for you to sleep, wake up, work out, eat, be productive and so on.
These different rhythms are not hard and fast rules, however the chronotypes help determine your natural routine and what type of schedule you typically lean towards. Keep reading to figure out how Chronotypes relate to your sleep, energy levels and daily routine. As well as how to determine your chronotype and more!
In a way, this is a trick question. In reality a Chronotype is just giving a name to how your Circadian Rhythm is affecting you. While we all have an internal biological clock that helps us function from day to day, our circadian rhythms don’t all behave in the same way. We all have different circadian typologies which will trigger us differently than others, creating different daily habits and energy levels.
Which is right where chronotypes come into play. Dr. Michael J. Breus, author of The Power Of When, coined the names for the different Chronotypes in order to expand the idea of these different Circadian Typologies and help you determine how your biological clock ticks. All so you can better manage your habits. This include when you are hungry, how you sleep, when you get tired, when you are most productive and so on.
When you are looking into different Chronotypes it is important to keep in mind that this is your bodies natural reaction for how your circadian typology works. In other words, your Chronotype does not dictate the only way your body can sleep, just the sleeping habits you tend to lean towards naturally and how your energy tends to ebb and flow.
Your Circadian Rhythm is built to be adaptable. As seasons change we all tend to sleep more in the winter and less with the summer as our bodies adapt to the change in light and weather. It is easier to stay up late when the sun is still up. We can also train ourselves to be able to be awake and alert at different times of day even if it does not line up with our Chronotype.
In order to determine which Chronotype you are, there are a few questions to ask yourself. After you have answered these questions for yourself you can better read the descriptions of the different chronotypes are figure out which option sounds more like you and your sleeping habits.
Keep in mind in our chronotype descriptions that we have example times of day for going to sleep and waking up. Of course these are just examples and you do not need to wake up at exactly those time naturally in order to line up with that chronotype. They are used to give you an idea of what is common for the chronotype with length of sleep.
After answering these questions see where your answers line up with the four Chronotypes below. You may feel that some of your answers cover multiple types, but one should stand out more than the others.
Sleep Drive: High
Wake up: 7:00AM
Average # Hours Asleep: 8-9 Hours Per Night
Most Productive Hours: 10:00AM-2:00PM
Sleep/Energy Habits: Afternoon Slump, Press snooze often
At approximately 55%, around half of the population is going to be a Bear Chronotype. This Chronotype usually gets around 8 hours of sleep each night. Typically sleeping around 11pm – 7am each night. Although you can still fall under this Chronotype with slightly different times in which you go to sleep and wake up.
Most Bear Chronotypes will be most productive in the mornings around 10am – 2pm. Those who are Bear Chronotypes also tend to experience an afternoon slump. Typically feeling tired, with a lack of focus or drive for a few hours.
For many Bear Chronotypes, food is a big vice and you have a midday slump. If this sounds like you, we suggest sticking to low carb/high protein lunch. Carbohydrates tend to slow you down and make you feel tired. Which means lots of sugar and carbs during your lunch is going to make your afternoon slump even more intense. Instead, try to leave your carb heavy meals for the evenings before bed. Allowing for your dip in energy to happen closer to bedtime.
Bear Chronotypes May Enjoy Reading: Does The Ketogenic Diet Affect Your Sleep?
Sleep Drive: Medium
Wake up: 7:30AM
Average # Hours Asleep: 7 Hours Per Night
Most Productive Hours: 5:00PM – 12:00AM
Sleep/Energy Habits: Night Owl, Hits stride in the evenings
While you don’t typically struggle with insomnia, you do tend to hit your prime productivity hours in the evenings before bed. If you are a Wolf Chronotype, you also likely consider yourself to be a night owl.
Wolves only typically make up 15% of the population and are often considered lazy due to their high productivity hours being different than most others. For sleep, you tend to prefer staying up late, which can sometimes lead to sleeping in or feeling groggy in the mornings.
Try early morning workouts and cold showers in the morning time. These activities tend to increase adrenaline and cortisol levels, which are great hormones for waking you up. This will help encourage productivity during your off peak hours. Pick up a few low energy activities you can do in order to slow yourself down before bed. Such as meditation or reading. This will help you to ease into sleep.
Wolf Chronotypes May Also Enjoy: Bedtime Relaxation Exercises
Sleep Drive: Medium
Wake up: 6:00AM
Average # Hours Asleep: 8 Hours Per Night
Most Productive Hours: 8:00AM – 12:00PM
Sleep/Energy Habits: Morning Person, Wakes up with energy, but crashes early in the night.
Lion Chronotypes tend to be go getters. They are the “early bird gets the worm” kind of people. They typically wake up before their alarm clock goes off, and hit the ground running. It tends to be difficult for Lions to stay in bed for long lazy mornings. They want to get moving and get working. They also can have a difficult time socializing in the evenings as their energy tends to crash at night.
We suggest that our lion chronotypes, try to workout in the afternoon or evenings. Since exercise is a good tool to use as a pick me up, and you energy levels are already naturally high in the mornings. Then in a sense you are wasting a good pick me up in the hours in which you’re already full of energy. Instead try to work out in the evenings when you could use the extra boost in energy.
Lion Chronotypes May Also Enjoy: Stress Free Morning Routine
Sleep Drive: Low
Wake Up: 6:00AM
Average # Hours Asleep: 6 Hours Per Night (Sometimes less, and typically varies often)
Most Productive Hours: 3:00PM – 9:00PM
Sleep/Energy Habits: Wake up easily, Struggles with Insomnia, Don’t stay on a strict sleep schedule
Dolphins are often left out of the typical “Early Bird vs Night Owl” debate, because you are neither. Typically Dolphins struggle to stay on a consistent sleep schedule of any kind. You may wake up early one day and sleep in the next, or you may also struggle to sleep at all. Many of those who find they are dolphins have either been diagnosed by their doctor or self diagnosed with insomnia.
Create a set morning and nightly routine for yourself. Even if you are still unable to fall asleep or wake up at the same time everyday, create a strict routine for your morning and evenings when you would ideally be waking up or going to bed.
Try to include actions that wake you up in the mornings like taking a walk in the sunshine and cold showers in the morning. Along with relaxing routines in the evenings like warm baths, mediation, and avoiding blue light. Even choosing to eat at the same times each day is a good idea. This will help your circadian rhythm to have a sense of consistency, even when your sleep is inconsistent.
Dolphin Chronotypes May Also Enjoy: Tips For Falling Back Asleep
Your sleep drive is a term referring to how much sleep you need in order to feel satisfied and well rested. It is believed that the length of your PER3 gene can determine your sleep drive. It is this gene that changes how your circadian rhythm performs and changes your chronotype.
If you have a low sleep drive, you tend to have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. The slightest noises and disruptions often wake you up. This is common for Dolphin Chronotypes, as they typically have rather low sleep drive and struggle with insomnia.
On the other side of the spectrum would be a Bear. Those who a Bear Chronotypes typically have very high sleep drives. They can typically sleep comfortably anywhere with little to no disruptions. They tend to sleep very deeply as well.
Determining which Chronotype best fits you and your sleep habits is a great way to start learning more about yourself. Not only your sleeping habits, but how rearranging your daily activities can benefit you as well. Knowing your Chronotype can hand you the key to all sorts of life hacks.
Try not to see your Chronotype as dooming you to only one way of living and sleeping. It is simply your bodies natural rhythm, it’s circadian rhythm to be exact. You can always learn to work with them, or find ways to make your life easier and work best for you. We hope this article helps you to find new and better ways to get the sleep you deserve as well as have more energy throughout the day.
If you’re looking to learn more about Chronotypes and how they can benefit you and your life, click the link for the book that started it all, The Power Of When By Michael Breus. Also, have questions for us? Contact Us and we’d be happy to help!