DOr do you prefer to go to bed and go to bed early, or do you like staying up late and can’t imagine it any other way? Believe it or not, it’s actually more than just preference: our bodies are programmed with a natural inclination for our sleep patterns. So while it may seem impossible to you to go to bed before midnight, other people just can’t trade effectively without doing it. It all comes down to personal chronotypes.
What is a chronotype?
According to SleepFoundation.Org, a chronotype is the body’s natural inclination to sleep and wake at specific times. But that is not all. Chronotypes also influence our appetite (up to when you prefer to drink your coffee), exercise patterns, and general alertness. So while a timeline can help you better understand your early-morning or late-night tendencies, it can also help you discover the best times of day to focus on work, exercise, and sit down to eat. Heck, your chronotype can even help you pinpoint the best time to have sex.
Perhaps most fascinating of all is the fact that chronotypes are classified as animals, specifically, bears, wolves, lions, and dolphins. These sleeping animals correspond to their unique chronotype or biological clock. We all have an animal alter ego that describes the way we sleep, says Michael J. Breus, PhD, also known as “The Sleep Doctor.” And no matter who you are, discovering your chronotype can reveal a lot about your personality.
Fortunately for us, discovering yours takes only 90 seconds using the Chronotype quiz invented by Dr. Breus (the website says 45, but I’m here to tell you it will take longer). The quiz includes questions about your favorite meal of the day, whether you sleep with an alarm, and your history of insomnia. Once you’re assigned to a group of animal chronotypes, the site directs you to a video of Dr. Breus explaining his super-secret dream identity. And trust us, you’ll want to see it; it may very well help you become your most rested, satisfied, and productive self yet.
Are you a bear, a lion, a wolf or a dolphin? Take the chronotype quiz to discover your sleeping animal.
What are the 4 chronotypes and how do you find out yours?
Bear: about 50 percent of the population
Personality: According to Dr. Breus, a bear is an outgoing “team player.” His people skills are on point, making them great managers.
Diet: Like Winnie the Pooh, the most accurate cartoon representation of all bears, they like to graze for food all day long (with pots of honey to go and other snacks).
exercise trends: They may or may not be involved in sweat gains, the doctor notes.
Sleep: “Bears like to have their seven or eight hours, but they will fall asleep several times in the morning,” explains the doctor.
famous bears: Stephen King, Ellen Degeneres, Ariana Huffington
Leon: about 15-20 percent of the population
Personality: “They are optimistic people who set goals and achieve them,” says Dr. Breus. He adds that they are also analytically minded leaders. They often assume leadership positions, but do not take risks.
Diet: Lions are conscious to watch over their indulgences. Instead, they are on the prowl for protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
exercise trends: Your friend who never stops talking about CrossFit or his next ultramarathon is probably a lion. These individuals love to conquer predatory challenges.
Sleep: They wake up early, eager to start the day.
famous lions: Maya Angelou, Benjamin Franklin, Kevin Johnson
Wolf: about 15-20 percent of the population
Personality: People describe wolves as fearless, explains Dr. Breus. They see the world through an intuitive lens and are totally okay with being awake when most people are deep in their dreams. Risky situations are where they feel most comfortable, so they often act on impulse. You will find them working in creative fields like the arts.
Diet: “Although they are never hungry in the morning, they do get hungry after dark,” says the sleep expert. They like to snack until the wee hours of the morning.
exercise trends: Dr. Breus tells Bright Side that he might want to save his gym sessions for after work. A little walk beforehand can help wake them up to the (disappointing) fact that they need to be awake when the sun comes up to make a living.
Sleep: They sleep late after a night full of adventures.
famous wolves: Mark TwainBarack ObamaBill Gates
Dolphin: About 10 percent of the population.
Personality: Dolphins tend to have Type A personalities. They are highly intelligent perfectionists who can often be stressed and anxious. At work, they are fiercely independent and excel at problem solving.
Diet: “Usually these are guys who eat to live with a naturally fast metabolism,” explains Dr. Breus.
exercise trends: Some loyally stick to their exercise routines. Some don’t feel like they need to because they have a very high metabolism.
Sleep: Dolphins rarely wake up feeling fully rested. However, when night falls, they may suddenly experience a burst of energy. They also wake up sporadically throughout their REM cycles to worry.
famous dolphins: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Richard Branson