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Discovering Your Chronotype: How working with your biological clock can set you up for success Previous item Ways to Reduce Online... Next item Phoenus: Fun and...

Discovering Your Chronotype: How working with your biological clock can set you up for success

Do you often find yourself waking up before the sun rises and falling asleep before it fully goes down? Or are you a night owl who is wide awake until the wee hours of the morning, only falling asleep when the sun starts shining on the horizon? Or maybe you’re the type to fall asleep in time with the setting sun and wake as it’s beginning to rise? Or maybe you identify with none of the above and are someone who doesn’t get much sleep at all; tossing and turning through the night?

Whatever your sleep schedule, it has a lot to do with a categorization of your circadian rhythm known as your Chronotype; a 4-type system that dictates your days. And, whatever your Chronotype and sleep schedule preference, know that you’re not alone and there are tons of people out there just like you.

So, what are all the key things to know about Chronotypes? Let’s dive in!

What are Chronotypes?

A Chronotype is just what I described above. It’s your natural tendency to wake up and fall asleep at certain times of the day.

In short, your Chronotype is dictated by the length of your PER3 gene, environmental factors, hormone production (including when your body produces and stops melatonin), your body temperature throughout the day, and metabolic function. And, while your Chronotype is in line with how these body systems function, age can also play a role. While you cannot change your Chronotype willfully, they do tend to change over time naturally. For example, you may be the type to stay up late and sleep in while in your 20’s, but be a natural early-morning riser in your 60’s.

All this said, if you find that your Chronotype and sleep cycles are negatively affecting your ability to function day-to-day, it may be the result of a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, and it’s worth visiting a specialist.

Additionally, you may have heard of people describing their Chronotypes as being a “dolphin”, “bear”, “wolf”, and “lion”. These Chronotypes were termed as such by sleep-specialist Doctor Michael Breus as a way to discern the best regimens for his clients. By definition, dolphins are restless sleepers or insomniacs, bears are middle-of-the-road sleepers, wolves like to stay awake at night and doze during the day, and lions like to sleep at night and rise early in the morning.

That said, if sleep seems to be eluding you these days, then check out this article for ten easy and effective ways to get a better night’s sleep!

Why Should You Learn Your Chronotype?

The short answer, to live your best life! The truth is, not all humans operate on the same wake/sleep schedules, and understanding your Chronotype and circadian rhythm can help you tailor your lifestyle to best fit your natural cycles.

By learning your Chronotype, you can learn when your body naturally releases melatonin and plan your bedtime around that. Conversely, you can learn when your body stops producing melatonin and plan to wake up around that time. This will help you get an adequate amount of sleep and not feel groggy when you wake up in the morning.

Additionally, learning your Chronotype will help you plan your day. With it in mind, you can plan your work schedule, exercise schedule, eating schedule, and wind-down schedule so that you’re doing activities when they come most naturally. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of completely planning our days around our circadian rhythms, but it’s something to consider when possible!

What’s the Relationship Between Chronotype and Circadian Rhythm?

Basically, Chronotypes work within the context of Circadian Rhythms, only they provide a more detailed, individualized outlook. A Circadian Rhythm is defined as being an internalized, natural biological clock that regulates the sleep cycle. This rhythm is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun, and thus repeats roughly every 24 hours.

Something that can disrupt your circadian rhythm? Blue light from excess screen time and cell phone use. If you find that your phone has been keeping you up at night, then check out this article for how to better manage your social media phone use and set boundaries for yourself.

So, How do you Find Your Chronotype?

Why with a questionnaire of course! Chronotypes were first studied in the 1970s by a man named Olov Ostberg, and he, along with Jim Horne, devised what still reigns as the most popular Chronotype quiz available, the morningness-eveningness questionnaire (MEQ). To take the auto-MEQ, click here: https://www.cet-surveys.com/index.php?sid=61524

In addition to the standardized MEQ, there is also the quiz that Dr. Breus devised, called the “Power of When Quiz”. This is the quiz that will let you know if you’re a dolphin, bear, wolf, or lion, and will calculate when you should typically go to bed, wake up, and how you should plan your day for optimal performance. To take the Power of When Quiz, click here: https://thepowerofwhenquiz.com/

My suggestion is to take both of these quizzes and see how they stack up against each other. You could very well learn vital information about yourself!

 

The Four Chronotypes:

Bear

The most common Chronotype, Bears sleep/wake cycles mimic the sun, and they generally are very good sleepers. Bears will have the most energy mid-morning, a couple of hours after waking up, and while they’ll generally feel a dip of energy mid-afternoon, they are fairly energetic throughout the day.

Wolf

Wolf Chronotypes are night owls, er… night wolves. The “opposite” of morning people, they stick to a nocturnal schedule, finding their peak productivity hours at night while the rest of the world is asleep.

Lion

Lions are morning people. They thrive by going to bed relatively early and waking up in the wee hours. They are the most productive first thing in the AM and tend to start winding down early evening.

Dolphin

Dolphin Chronotypes are those without regimented sleep schedules. Generally known as insomniacs, Dolphins tend to toss and turn before falling into slumber, they may wake frequently, and they often do not get enough sleep. If you find that you fall into the Dolphin category, it may be worth seeing a sleep specialist to see if there are any underlying causes.

Thank you for reading this article all about Chronotypes! We hope that by learning more about your natural cycles and rhythms that you can understand yourself a little better, and if possible, tailor your days to suit you best. Let us know your thoughts on Chronotypes in the comments below!

Sources:

https://www.cet-surveys.com/index.php?sid=61524

https://thepowerofwhenquiz.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm#:~:text=A%20circadian%20rhythm%20is%20a,oscillation%20of%20about%2024%20hours

https://amerisleep.com/blog/what-is-your-chronotype/

https://www.sleepscore.com/chronotype-ideal-bedtime/

https://www.bulletproof.com/sleep/sleep-hacks/sleep-chronotype-circadian-rhythm/

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