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The 4 Sleep Chronotypes: What They Are and How to Determine Yours.

Sleep chronotypes are the latest wellness concept meant to help you maximize your productivity and energy levels throughout the day. If you’ve heard of them recently, you may have asked yourself: are sleep chronotypes real? Or: Which sleep chronotype am I?

In today’s post, we are breaking down each of the four types and discussing how understanding yours can help you maximize your day. Keep reading to discover how to determine your sleep chronotype.

What is a sleep chronotype?

Sleep chronotypes are a way of classifying your body’s individual preferences for a sleep-wake cycle. While your type is closely linked to your circadian rhythm, there are differences between the two. For example, the circadian rhythm can be trained with light cues and habits, whereas your sleep chronotype exists on a deeper, cellular level.²

For that reason, many people who struggle with energy levels, insomnia, and other sleep-related issues have found success by adapting their routines to suit their sleep chronotype!

Are sleep chronotypes real?

Yes! Sleep chronotypes have been proven to be real by scientific studies. One study found that the level of melatonin in subjects’ bodily cells was consistent with their chronotype,¹ showing that sleep chronotype is directly connected to an individual’s unique circadian rhythm.

Can you change your sleep chronotype?

As far as scientists know, you cannot change your sleep chronotype. This is because your type is largely based on genetics and age.

Most people who struggle with their type find success once they find a way to adapt their lifestyle to their specific chronotype. However, certain lifestyle and habit adjustments can help you adjust your sleep-wake cycle if you need to.

How to determine your sleep chronotype

By now, you’re probably asking yourself: which sleep chronotype am I? There are a few ways to find out.

1. Ask yourself what your sleep schedule would look like if you had no work or obligations. Would you be an early riser, waking up before the sun? Would you sleep until noon? Or would you fall somewhere in between?

2. Ask yourself what your ideal workday would look like. What is your ideal start time? When do you feel like you have the most energy? If you have to complete a really difficult task, when would you feel the most equipped to do so?

3. Consider your personality and social schedule. When do you feel the happiest? The most like yourself? When do you tend to have the best social interactions and when do you feel more drained and introverted?

It’s important to get a good idea of what all this would look like outside of your normal work schedule. Think about how you choose to live and spend your energy on days when you have no obligations.

If you’re a new parent or a business owner, it might feel like those days don’t exist! So try to think back to a time before you had obligations every day.

Once you’ve got a good idea of your habits and natural inclinations, read the following types and see which one sounds most like the version of yourself that you just came up with.

What are the chronotypes?

1. The Lion

Ideal Schedule for Lion Sleep Chronotypes

Lions are the early birds of the world. They love getting up as soon as the sun rises and tackling their to-do lists straight away. These are the people who go to the gym at 6 AM, who make big, beautiful breakfasts for their spouses on the weekends, and who can’t seem to keep their eyes open past 10 PM.

Ideal Schedule for Lion Sleep Chronotype

If you think you’re a lion, this would be an ideal schedule for you.

Wake Up: 6 AM

Focus Time: 8 AM – 12 PM

Light Tasks: 12 PM – 4 PM

Downtime: 4 PM – 10 PM

Bedtime: 10 PM

Tips for Lion Sleep Chronotypes

  • Set a hard limit for yourself when it’s time to “punch out” for the day and enjoy your downtime.
  • During the summer months, serious early risers can use a sleep mask at night to aid your circadian rhythm. When the sun stays up longer, it can often be harder for a Lion to get to sleep on time.
  • For additional sleep help, try a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are proven to help improve sleep onset time!
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2. The Bear

Ideal Schedule for Bear Sleep Chronotypes

Bears make up over half of the population! They are the most balanced and well-adapted to our society’s standard working hours. These are typically outgoing people who have an easy time socialising after the standard workday. If you like a slow but productive morning routine, typically have a sustained, steady flow of calm energy throughout the day, and have little trouble falling asleep at a reasonable time, you’re probably a Bear!

Ideal Schedule for Bear Sleep Chronotype

If you think you’re a Bear, this would be an ideal schedule for you.

Wake Up: 7-8 AM

Focus Time: 10 AM – 2 PM

Light Tasks: 2 PM – 4 PM

Downtime: 4 PM – 11 PM

Bedtime: 11-12 PM

Tips for Bear Sleep Chronotypes

  • Schedule blocks for yourself in the workday to avoid procrastination.
  • Keep work meetings to the beginning of the day.
  • Use mental cues to help your brain transition from work to relax mode. A comfy outfit or throw blanket at the end of the day is the perfect way to deescalate your nervous system and enjoy the rest of your night.
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3. The Wolf

Ideal Schedule for Wolf Sleep Chronotypes

Wolves are your classic “night owls” who can’t leave the house before they’ve had their morning coffee. If you start feeling more awake once the sun begins to go down, if you’ve never considered yourself a morning person, and if the idea of going for an early morning jog makes you want to hurl, then you’re probably a Wolf!

Ideal Schedule for Wolf Sleep Chronotype

If you think you’re a Wolf, this would be an ideal schedule for you.

Wake Up: 10:30 AM – 1 PM

Light Tasks: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Focus Time: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Creative Tasks: 9:30 PM – 12 AM

Downtime: 12 AM – 3 AM

Bedtime: 3 AM

Tips for Wolf Sleep Chronotypes

  • If you’re able to, get a head start on your work tasks in the evening when you’re at home.
  • Transition to an evening shift if this is possible.
  • Use a weighted blanket to help your body rapidly shift into a parasympathetic nervous state once your tasks are done at night. This will help you fall asleep more quickly.
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4. The Dolphin

Ideal Schedule for Dolphin Sleep Chronotypes

Dolphins are typically anxious insomniacs. They have creative bursts of unsustainable energy, making their work schedules very sporadic. You may be a Dolphin if you have an inconsistent sleep schedule, are an incredibly light sleeper, or find yourself getting creative at inconvenient hours of the night.

Ideal Schedule for Dolphin Sleep Chronotype

If you think you’re a Dolphin, this would be an ideal schedule for you.

Wake Up: 6:30 AM

Light Tasks: 8 AM – 10 AM

Focus Time: 10 AM – 12 PM

Light Tasks: 12 PM – 4 PM

Downtime: 4 PM – 12 PM

Bedtime: 12 PM

Tips for Dolphin Sleep Chronotypes

  • Use a weighted blanket to help avoid anxious thoughts and achieve deep, restorative sleep.
  • An essential oil diffuser is a perfect way to help you feel more energized in the morning and more relaxed at night.
  • Be sure to schedule regular breaks throughout the day.
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In conclusion

Adapting your daily schedule to suit your sleep chronotypes can be a fantastic way to maximize your creativity. While adjusting to a new sleep-wake cycle can be challenging on your body, using the right tools such as weighted blankets and essential oil diffusers can really help you feel more energized throughout the day!

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Works Cited

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