Can you shift your sleep-wake times for your own convenience? The answer is yes... but you might not perform as well as you would if you worked with your body’s natural tendency. According to sleep expert and The Power of When author Dr. Michael Breus, your unique wiring (aka sleep chronotype) determines your most energetic times of day. While you likely already know whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, Breus takes circadian rhythms one step further with four classifications called sleep chronotypes, which will help you figure out the best time of day to make an important decision, work out, and do anything better.
So, which Chronotype are you?
50% of people fall into the bear chronotype category. Bears’ sleep-wake patterns follow the sun, and they have no difficulty sleeping. Bears are most ready for intense tasks smack in the middle of the morning, and they feel a dip in the mid-afternoon.
Overall, bears have steady energy and get things done. They can maintain productivity all day as long as they don’t try to push past the mid-afternoon recharge period. Bears tend to be friendly and warm.
Lions wake up early. This 25% are the go-getters, the leaders, the type-A movers and shakers. They might not reach for a cup of coffee until a little before lunch, and their most productive hours have already passed by that time. Because of their action-packed mornings, they tend to fizzle out in the evening and turn in early.
Alright night owls, this is your group. Just like these nocturnal creatures, you are most alert at night. Wolves tend to stay up later and struggle with waking up early.
Only about 15% of the population falls into this group. Wolves are more productive in the later afternoon and evening.
Dolphins “only sleep with half of their brain at a time" - sound familiar? Well, this is the insomniac (often self-diagnosed) group. You might be anxious and have trouble turning your brain off at night. Dolphins usually don’t get a complete night’s sleep. About 10% of the population falls in this category. And even though they wake-up tired, dolphins are most productive by the mid-morning.
- You can get a better night’s sleep because you only go to bed when you feel tired
- You can schedule meetings according to your peak productivity times
- You will get more out of your day
- Take Dr. Breus’ sleep chronotype quiz and learn about your spirit animal. Answering some simple questions will help you understand your natural rhythms.
- Re-organise your day. Work with your wiring, not against it.
- See how you feel. As you structure your day differently, pay attention to how your productivity, energy and tiredness respond. Tweak it until it’s just right.