What is a Chronotype?
The word “chronotype” means the classification of your sleep and productivity schedules. This can also be called your circadian rhythm. By knowing which type you are, you can learn tools to make you productive, eat better, and get a better sleep schedule. Other factors can be affected by your chronotype. For example, your physical health can be affected when you don’t eat or wake up at the right times based on your chronotype. Also, there can be affects on your mental health if you don’t manage your schedules correctly. It’s all in our chemistry and learning to listen to our bodies.
In this blog, we’ll discuss each chronotype and let you decide which sounds most like you! At the end, we’ll give you additional resources to help you find your type.
Factors that Affect Chronotype
Chronotypes are not generally controllable. There are both environmental and genetic characteristics that will affect which type you are. Some research discusses the “non-modifiable determinants” that relate to chronotype research. These “non-modifiable determinants” are the parts of us we cannot influence or change at will. For example, ethnicity, age, and other similar factors. Studies suggest that your chronotype may even change with age.
Environmental factors play into which chronotype you are. Light, and the cycle from light to dark specifically, is perhaps the greatest factor. This can be affected by where you live regionally. Studies have shown chronotypes affect people from Germany differently than people in India, for example.
These are all things to keep in mind once you know your chronotype. You may find that you’re a Wolf now, but you might become a Lion in 5 years. We’ll take you through the chronotypes and then show you some additional resources to find exactly which chronotype you are.
You might be the wolf chronotype if you’re a late sleeper and feel an energy boost in the evening. Usually, this looks like someone who sleeps in til late morning, even as late as 12PM. They will also most likely have multiple alarms set, as they have a hard time waking up. People with the Wolf chronotype will also fall asleep late in the night, sometimes after 12AM. These late sleepers will also have their best energy levels between 12PM and 4PM, with another surge of energy around 6PM.
People with the Wolf chronotypes usually drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated beverages. It’s recommended that people with this chronotype start their day with water and fresh air. It is also recommended to have a lighter lunch and dinner with healthy snacks in between all meals. This allows Wolf chronotypes to stay active during their peak energy levels (late afternoon and evening time).
Some other common characteristics of the Wolf Chronotype:
Bears are the most common chronotype. Bears have schedules that align with the sun. This means waking up easily in the morning and having no trouble falling asleep. If you’re a bear, you will most likely have your best energy levels mid-day. In addition, you will have a post-lunch energy dip. Even with a steady and somewhat-predictable schedule, Bears don’t usually get enough sleep during the week. So, if you’re a Bear, plan to sleep in or catch a nap on the weekends to catch up.
You can create better eating habits based on your chronotype, as well. It’s recommended that people with a Bear chronotype eat a healthy breakfast, but not too big of a meal. It is important for Bears to take frequent breaks to keep themselves refreshed. When that dip in energy hits, we recommend a cup of tea or a healthy snack, like almonds or other nuts. For dinner, try more proteins and less carbs.
Some other common characteristics of the Bear Chronotype:
- Open / Optimistic
Are you an early riser? If so, you might be the Lion chronotype. People with the Lion chronotype tend to wake up EARLY (before the sun rises) and fall asleep easily. They will have energy levels throughout the day, but will get more tired, some studies even say “bored”, in the evenings. Lions are usually deep sleepers, as well. Lion types are the most productive after 12PM.
People with the Lion chronotype should consider having a high protein breakfast, with low amounts of carbs. Put off your morning coffee until later in the morning, perhaps around 10AM. Lion types can also benefit from a healthy snack around the same time (think yogurt, granola bar, etc).
Some other common characteristics of the Lion Chronotype:
- Pragmatic & Realistic
The Dolphin chronotype is the least common type. People with this chronotype are sensitive sleepers. They get up early, but can have trouble falling, and staying, asleep. Often, people with this chronotype are also insomniacs.
As a sensitive sleeper, Dolphins wake up to even the slightest sounds, and fractions of light. They’re productive throughout the day, but generally find they are most productive in the middle of their day. Because this chronotype is most likely an insomniac as well, the lack of sleep can cause them to be tired throughout the day, affecting their energy levels.
People with the Dolphin chronotype will benefit most from starting their days with a shower or quick, refreshing activity, followed by a balanced breakfast. Dolphins will benefit from having a lunch or afternoon break with fresh air to boost their energy level. In the evening, Dolphins benefit from a light dinner, exercise, and a structured bedtime. Bedtime routines can help Dolphins wind down.
Some other common characteristics of the Dolphin Chronotype:
- “Play it Safe” personality: Not keen on taking risks
So, What is YOUR Chronotype?
Did any of these sound like you? Sometimes it can be hard because we might feel like a bear one day and a wolf the next. If you’re still not sure which type you are most like, try this quiz. The quiz linked will ask you a series of questions. Answer honestly to get the best results. We found that when taking this quick, there’s some questions where you might feel close to both answers. In this case, try going with what is true most of the time. This particular quiz has other resources that can provide other helpful tips dependent on your chronotype!
Learning your chronotype can help you get to know yourself better and create lasting healthy habits. Once you know your chronotype, you can also check other factors that may affect your sleep. For example, your mattress, your pillows, and your bed linens. It is crucial to your sleep to have a pillow that is right for you, and bed linens that are comforting. Even so, a good pillow and bed linen set can be ruined by an old mattress. Tune in next week to learn if it’s time to replace your mattress!