Do you feel guilty for sleeping in, or not performing your best at work in the mornings? Are you someone who feels extremely anxious about early morning zoom meetings?
If so, you’re not alone. There may be a scientific reason that sleeping in is just the thing you need to perform your best! According to sleep doctor Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., we all have an animal chronotype corresponding to an internal biological system that affects our sleep schedule, health, personality traits, and performance!
Unlike the circadian rhythm, which can be trained to meet your needs, chronotypes are said to be innate, and understanding them can greatly improve your life + daily routines! Chronotypes help you understand when you are most active during the day so that you can optimize your sleep routine and boost your productivity. This means that no matter how much you strive to be a morning person, it may not be what’s best for you. Let’s dive deeper into what that means.
There are four chronotype categories- bear, dolphin, wolf, and lion. Around 50% of the population is the bear chronotype. Bears are most productive during the day and start to feel fatigued in the evening. Stability is essential and it is difficult for them to work if their daily routine is changed. Bears are typically the most productive between 10 am and 2 pm and the best sleep schedule for them is from 11 pm - 7 am. If you see a coworker reaching for that afternoon cup of jo, they are most likely a bear chronotype!
Next up is the dolphin. Dolphins are the rarest of the chronotypes as they only take up 10% of the population. They often have trouble sleeping with restless nights. Dolphins tend to be overthinkers which leads to an irregular sleep schedule and no set bedtime. They usually wake up feeling groggy and take a while to wake up and work around random bursts of energy. It tends to be easy for them to get burnt out. If you’re a dolphin, take advantage of the times you are able to rest and don’t shy away from naps.
Wolf is the next chronotype, representing about 15% of the population. The wolves are most productive between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm and it’s best if they sleep between the hours of midnight and 8 am. Wolves tend to be more introverted and creative. They usually enjoy working after hours, staying up late, and sleeping in. If you’re a wolf struggling in the mornings, it’s probably best to set a list of high-priority tasks to get done!
Last, we have the Lion chronotype. You could say that lions are the chronotype that we all aspire to be like. They wake up at the crack of dawn, get in a morning run, and are halfway through their to-do list by 10 am. They usually go to bed early, have a great, regimented routine, and achieve all of their goals. Lions are most productive between 7 am and 12 pm and it’s best if they sleep from 9 pm to 5 am. If you have a coworker who is always the first person in the office and full of energy, they probably associate with the lion chronotype.
As you can see, knowing your chronotype and arranging your schedule around it can help you leverage your productivity levels and give your body rest when it needs it. Understanding your chronotype can also help you make sense of why you feel the way that you do at certain times of the day, and not feel bad about it!
Want to learn what your chronotype is? Try this quiz below: