SLEEP AND WELLNESS

What is a chronotype?

A chronotype is a classification system used to help understand sleep and productivity schedules, including when you’re most active and alert throughout the day. While there is still some research to be done on what exactly determines your chronotype, experts including sleep coach Alex Savy agree that they are genetically preconditioned, “courtesy of the PER3 gene that defines one’s circadian patterns.”

In addition to your PER3 gene, your chronotype is measured through your body’s biological clock. This means that being a night owl or early riser is not only a personal preference, but is also based on your body’s natural activity, alertness, and rest rhythms.

People typically fall into one of four chronotype categories: the bear, the wolf, the lion, and the dolphin. Each chronotype is loosely based on the relative animal’s sleep patterns and habits, so let’s dive in to discover which chronotype you most closely align with.

The ideal bear schedule looks like:

7–8 am: Wake up
10 am–2 p.m.: Focus on deep work
2–4 pm: Work on lighter tasks
4–10 pm: Relax and unwind
10–11 pm: Get ready for bed
11 pm–7 am: Sleep

The Bear Chronotype

Much like its namesake, the bear chronotype follows the solar cycle, and usually doesn’t have much trouble waking up in the morning or falling asleep at night. This chronotype is most productive in the morning, and will typically struggle with an afternoon slump after lunch, generally around 2–4 p.m. Eight hours of sleep is typical for a bear, and normal sleep hours are usually between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Fifty-five percent of the population falls into this category. If bear types fail to get enough sleep at night, they may feel lethargic throughout the day and go to bed earlier than normal. Typically, bear chronotypes are extroverts and can maintain energy throughout conversations.

If you’re a bear, make sure you get enough sleep to sustain your energy levels — unlike your namesake, you don’t get a months-long nap each winter.

The Bear Chronotype

Much like its namesake, the bear chronotype follows the solar cycle, and usually doesn’t have much trouble waking up in the morning or falling asleep at night. This chronotype is most productive in the morning, and will typically struggle with an afternoon slump after lunch, generally around 2–4 p.m. Eight hours of sleep is typical for a bear, and normal sleep hours are usually between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Fifty-five percent of the population falls into this category. If bear types fail to get enough sleep at night, they may feel lethargic throughout the day and go to bed earlier than normal. Typically, bear chronotypes are extroverts and can maintain energy throughout conversations.

If you’re a bear, make sure you get enough sleep to sustain your energy levels — unlike your namesake, you don’t get a months-long nap each winter.

The ideal bear schedule looks like:

7–8 am: Wake up
10 am–2 p.m.: Focus on deep work
2–4 pm: Work on lighter tasks
4–10 pm: Relax and unwind
10–11 pm: Get ready for bed
11 pm–7 am: Sleep

The Wolf Chronotype

Just like their real life counterparts, wolf chronotypes are most productive at night. The wolf needs more time to hit snooze in the morning to get all the energy they need to sustain their two bursts of creative energy: the first around noon, and the second coming around 6 p.m. when most others have finished their work for the day.

Only about 15 percent of the population identify as wolves. This type of person is usually more reserved and introverted.

The ideal wolf schedule looks like:

7:30–9 am: Wake up
10 am –12 pm: Focus on lighter tasks
12–2 pm: Complete deep or creative work
2–5 pm : Focus on lighter, less intense tasks
5–9 pm: Engage in creative tasks
9–10 pm: Unwind from the day
10 pm–12 am: Prepare for bed
12–7:30 am: Sleep

The ideal daily schedule for a lion looks like:

6–7 am: Wake up
8 am–12 pm: Focus on deep work
12–4 pm: Focus on lighter tasks
4–9 pm: Daily unwind and relax
9–10 pm.: Get ready for bed
10 pm – 6 am: Sleep

The Lion Chronotype

The early lion gets the worm. This chronotype feels most alive in the morning with energy levels peaking before noon, and is typically able to complete massive amounts of work before lunch. Waking up early is a breeze for lions and everything tends to run smoothly until midday. 

The afternoon slump hits this group hard, often needing a power nap to recharge, and by the evening they feel drained. It’s important for lions to have an evening wind-down routine to help them decompress from the day, before calling it an early night around 10 p.m. Lions generally need around eight hours of sleep per night to sustain their high energy levels in the early morning.

Fifteen percent of the population considers themselves lions. Usually seen exercising early and the first in the office, they’re early risers and have a lot of energy during their prime hours. Almost always type-A people, lion chronotypes typically harness charisma and are usually seen as leaders by their peers.

The Lion Chronotype

The early lion gets the worm. This chronotype feels most alive in the morning with energy levels peaking before noon, and is typically able to complete massive amounts of work before lunch. Waking up early is a breeze for lions and everything tends to run smoothly until midday. Just as fast as energy for a lion is gained, it’s lost.

The afternoon slump hits this group hard, often needing a power nap to recharge, and by the evening they feel drained. It’s important for lions to have an evening wind-down routine to help them decompress from the day, before calling it an early night around 10 p.m. Lions generally need around eight hours of sleep per night to sustain their high energy levels in the early morning.

Fifteen percent of the population considers themselves lions. Usually seen exercising early and the first in the office, they’re early risers and have a lot of energy during their prime hours. Almost always type-A people, lion chronotypes typically harness charisma and are usually seen as leaders by their peers.

The ideal daily schedule for a lion looks like:

6–7 am: Wake up
8 am–12 pm: Focus on deep work
12–4 pm: Focus on lighter tasks
4–9 pm: Daily unwind and relax
9–10 pm.: Get ready for bed
10 pm – 6 am: Sleep

The Dolphin Chronotype

The insomniac of the water, actual dolphins sleep with half of their brain on at a time — this helps them stay alert and aware of predators. Dolphins have a hard time waking up in the morning, but once they get going, their productivity reaches its peak around mid-morning.

Similar to their nocturnal counterpart, there is always underlying tiredness for dolphins due to their anxious sleeping behaviors — including having a hard time falling asleep each night and rarely getting a full night of sleep. Dolphin chronotypes will usually fall asleep because their body needs to, not because they willingly give in to sleep. Because of their sporadic sleeping habits, it’s recommended they sleep from about midnight to 6 a.m.

Only 10 percent of the population is considered dolphins. Generally highly intelligent, dolphin types will ruminate about the day’s successes and failures while in bed. This chronotype can be seen as distant and uninterested during social interactions.

If you identify with the characteristics of a dolphin, your ideal schedule looks like:

6:30–7:30 am: Wake up
8–10 am: Engage with easy to-dos
10 am–12 pm: Focus on demanding tasks
12–4 pm: Complete less demanding tasks
4–10 pm: Relax, unwind from the day
10–11:30 pm: Prepare for bed
12–6:30 am: Sleep

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