What’s Your Chronotype? How you can get the best sleep.
Astrology signs step aside please because let us tell you about your chronotype. What is a chronotype? Chronotypes define a person by their ingrained sleep habits that are natural to them and their bodies. Everyone has an internal "master clock" that signals to our brain when it's time to eat, sleep and wake up. However, similar to the different time zones, everyone's biological clock is different.These behaviors are classified with “chronotypes,” or the specific circadian rhythms that define individual levels of alertness and activity throughout the day. Whether you are a late-night binge watcher or an early bird riser, most of us can identify with a specific sleep type or chronotype.
Instead of fighting your body’s natural rhythm with a sleep schedule that doesn’t work, it’s best to work with your chronotype. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of a personal chronotype starts with knowing yours and gaining optimal sleep. It also provides insight into how you can make the most of your entire day, including regular activities, such as exercise, eating, working, and even socializing.
The Four Chronotypes Are:
Most people fall under the category of a bear chronotype, 55% of the population to be exact. This means their sleep and wake cycle goes according to the sun. Much like its namesake, this chronotype 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. If bear types fail to get enough sleep at night, they may feel lethargic throughout the day and go to bed earlier than normal.
The ideal bear schedule looks like:
- 7–8 a.m.: Wake up
- 10 a.m.–2 p.m.: Focus on deep work
- 2–4 p.m.: Work on lighter tasks
- 4–10 p.m.: Relax and unwind
- 10–11 p.m.: Get ready for bed
- 11 p.m.–7 a.m.: Sleep
- Continuous flow of mellow energy
*Productivity Tip: Schedule meetings in the morning and try to finish up before late afternoon.
If you consider yourself a "night owl" and get those spikes of energy after everyone else is winding down, you're probably 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. Around 15% to 20% of the population falls into this chronotype.
The best schedule for a wolf is:
- 7:30–9 a.m.: Wake up
- 10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Focus on lighter tasks
- 12–2 p.m.: Complete deep or creative work
- 2–5 p.m.: Focus on lighter, less intense tasks
- 5–9 p.m.: Engage in creative tasks
- 9–10 p.m.: Unwind from the day
- 10 p.m.–12 a.m.: Prepare for bed
- 12–7:30 a.m.: Sleep
- Highly creative
*Productivity Tip: Get ahead on work at home while you’re feeling most awake.
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. Around 15% to 20% of people identify with this chronotype.
The ideal daily schedule for a lion looks like:
- 6–7 a.m.: Wake up
- 8 a.m.–12 p.m.: Focus on deep work
- 12–4 p.m.: Focus on lighter tasks
- 4–9 p.m.: Daily unwind and relax
- 9–10 p.m.: Get ready for bed
- 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.: Sleep
- Natural Leaders
- Early Risers
Founder, Virgin Group
*Productivity Tip: Know when it’s quitting time and take time for yourself at the end of the day.
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.. Dolphin chronotypes will usually fall asleep because their body needs to, not because they willingly give in to sleep. Of all the chronotypes, this is the rarest - around 10% of the population identifies with the dolphin chronotype. Similar to their nocturnal counterpart, there is always underlying tiredness for dolphins due to their anxious sleeping behaviors.
If you identify with the characteristics of a dolphin, your ideal schedule looks like:
- 6:30–7:30 a.m.: Wake up
- 8–10 a.m.: Engage with easy to-dos
- 10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Focus on demanding tasks
- 12–4 p.m.: Complete less demanding tasks
- 4–10 p.m.: Relax, unwind from the day
- 10–11:30 p.m.: Prepare for bed
- 12–6:30 a.m.: Sleep
- Highly Intelligent
- Bursts of creative energy
*Productivity Tip: If needed, take breaks throughout the day to mentally reset and recharge.
What’s my Chronotype?
You can find more about your chronotype by taking a quiz: