We’re all different!
Some of us are night owls – struggling to wake up in the morning but feel wide awake at night. Others are morning larks, awake even before the birds but are back in bed when the clock strikes 10.
Our sleep: wake pattern or circadian rhythm defines our body’s preferred timing for productivity and for rest. Knowing your chronotype can help you boost productivity and support your natural sleeping pattern to maximise good quality rest.
First things first, what exactly is a chronotype?
A chronotype is a classification system used to help people understand their circadian rhythm, sleeping patterns, behaviours and characteristics in order to maximise productivity during the day.
Although research is ongoing, it is thought that your chronotype is pre-determined by your genetics – namely the PER3 gene, which defines your circadian rhythm.
This means that being a morning lark or night owl is something we’re genetically preconditioned to prefer and veer towards, not simply a personal preference.
There are 4 chronotype categories: the wolf, the lion, the dolphin and the bear – and factors in these animals sleeping patterns and daily preferences.
So, let’s have a more detailed look at each chronotype and see which one you most identify with…
Wolf chronotypes are your typical ‘night owls’. They are most productive in the
evening and struggle to wake up in the morning.
As their day gets off to a slow start, it isn’t really until the sun sets that Wolf Chronotypes really come into their own. They have an evening energy boost and often get their best work done between the hours of 6pm-midnight.
An ideal day for a wolf chronotype would be:
- 7.30-9am: Wake up with two alarms.
- 9am: Eat Breakfast.
- 9.30am: Plan day.
- 10-1pm: Focus on admin & easier tasks.
- 1pm: Take a walk & eat lunch.
- 1-3pm: Finish easier tasks.
- 4-9pm: Hold meetings, focus on creative and intense work tasks.
- 9-10pm: Finish work & eat dinner.
- 10-12am: Turn off all screens and relax.
- 12am: Bed.
It is estimated that around 15% of the population is a wolf chronotype and is associated with a more introverted & creative personality.
Lion chronotype’s love an early start – they have lots of energy in the morning and can easily whizz through their to do list before midday.
With such a morning high, comes an inevitable afternoon energy slump – you’ll often find that Lion Chronotypes need a quick power nap to refresh them and to keep them from falling asleep during dinner. Lion’s often need at least 8 hours sleep and might be quite grumpy if they don’t get that every night.
An ideal day for a Lion chronotype would be:
- 5.30-6am: Wake up & have breakfast.
- 6-7am: Plan day & have coffee.
- 7-12pm: Focus on important & creative tasks.
- 12pm: Have lunch.
- 1-4pm: Focus on admin and easier tasks.
- 4-5pm: Exercise or meditate.
- 5-9pm: Unwind routine, have dinner, read etc.
- 9-10pm: Prepare for bed & go to sleep.
Around 15% of the population identify with the Lion Chronotype and are typically seen as productive and natural born leaders.
Dolphin Chronotypes tend to be light sleepers & often find themselves waking up in the middle of the night or suffering from insomnia.
Due to their unpredictable sleeping patterns, dolphin chronotypes find it hard to wake up in the morning but once they are up, they find their energy levels reach a mid-morning peak.
An ideal day for a Dolphin chronotype would be:
- 6.30-7am: Wake Up.
- 7-8am: Exercise & Eat Breakfast.
- 8-10am: Focus on easy tasks and admin.
- 10-12pm: Have important meetings and creative tasks.
- 12pm-4pm: Focus on easier tasks.
- 4-5pm: Take a walk, meditate or yoga to relax from the day.
- 6-10pm: Have dinner & relax by reading or watching tv.
- 10-11pm: Turn off all screens.
- 11.30-12pm: Go to bed.
Around 10% of the population identify as dolphins, they are said to have a tendency to be more introverted and anxious, but highly intelligent and self-aware.
The bear chronotype is in tune with the solar cycle, so typically falls asleep between 10-11pm and gets a good 8 hours sleep before waking up feeling refreshed and energised.
Bear’s find they are their most productive and creative around mid-morning and lunchtime. After lunch, they usually have an energy slump and prefer to focus on easier tasks until they finish work for the day – a 4pm finish is ideal for them.
An ideal day for a Bear chronotype would be:
- 7-8am: Wake Up
- 8-9am: Have breakfast & exercise.
- 10am-2pm: Complete harder & more creative tasks for the day.
- 2-4pm: Focus on admin and easier tasks.
- 4pm-7: Finish work and relax.
- 7pm-8pm: Have dinner.
- 10pm: Turn off all screens and prepare for bed.
- 10.30-11pm: Bed.
This is the most common chronotype by far, it’s estimated that 55% of the population associated with the bear chronotype. It’s important for bears to get enough sleep, as otherwise they can feel tired and grumpy during the day. Generally, bears are extroverts and love socialising.
So which chronotype are you?
It might be really clear cut which chronotype you are – or you might find you share characteristics of both the bear and the dolphin for example. The key is to identify which patterns feel most natural to you, if you weren’t restricted by timings imposed by work and life.
By identifying which chronotype you are, it can help you change your schedule (where possible) to enhance your productivity, get adequate rest and feel more accomplished.