Getting enough sleep is something a lot of us struggle with. Things can also become increasingly difficult when it affects your daytime schedule. One way to help better plan your day is to get familiar with your sleep chronotype.
How Do Chronotypes Work?
A sleep chronotype is a behavioural manifestation of a person’s sleep-wake cycle. It is the natural tendency for an individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period. A chronotype can help indicate a person’s most likely time to sleep during a day.
Your chronotype coincides with your biological clock in a variety of ways, including how you wake up and whether or not you require an alarm clock. Your eye sensitivity to light and production of melatonin (a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle) are also highly relevant factors.
Sleep chronotypes are commonly broken down into four categories: bear, wolf, lion, and dolphin.
Most people fall under the bear chronotype, meaning their sleep-wake cycle corresponds with the sun. They wake easily, but also fall asleep without a problem and are normally most productive before noon. They are prone to decreased productivity following lunch around 2pm-4pm.
The wolf chronotype has trouble waking up in the morning and feels most energetic when getting out of bed around 12pm. They feel productive right away with their peak ending around four hours later. These types of people usually get another boost at 6pm enabling them to get more done when everyone else has stopped work for the day.
Lions are almost the inverse of wolves. They like to wake early in the morning and feel their best up until lunchtime. They’re also more likely to go to bed earlier, around 9pm-10pm.
Lastly, for those of us who have a difficult time setting any sort of routine sleep schedule, there is the dolphin chronotype. Unfortunately, dolphins often don’t get enough sleep because of their sensitivity to things like noise and light. Their peak productivity is between 10am-2pm.
For more details on how to plan the ideal sleep and daytime schedule read this article.
How To Determine Your Chronotype
There are a variety of useful questionnaires that can help you determine your sleep chronotype.
The Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire by Swedish researcher Oslov Ostberg, the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire by Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, and The Power of When Quiz by clinical sleep psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus are all great resources.
Dr. Breus has also written a book dedicated to sleep chronotypes titled The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype – and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More, which is available on Amazon.
Sleeping is essential to make sure your body is prepared to tackle each day. Learn your chronotype and get your day started the right way.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Please consult your physician or medical practitioner for personalized medical advice.