DDo you prefer to go to bed early, or do you like to stay up late and can’t imagine any other way? Believe it or not, it’s actually more than just a preference: our bodies are programmed with a natural inclination to our sleep patterns. So while it may seem impossible for you to go to bed before midnight, other people simply cannot operate effectively without doing so. 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 up at specific times. But that is not all. Chronotypes also influence our appetite (how much you prefer to drink your coffee), exercise patterns, and general alertness. So while a chronotype can help you better understand your early-morning or late-night tendencies, it can also help you figure out the best times of the day to focus on work, work out, and sit down to a meal. Heck, your chronotype might even help you pinpoint the best time to have sex.
Perhaps most fascinating of all is the fact that chronotypes are categorized as animals – specifically, bears, wolves, lions, and dolphins. These sleeping animals correspond to their chronotype, or unique 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.
Luckily for us, figuring out yours takes just 90 seconds using the Chronotype test invented by Dr. Breus (the website says 45, but I’m here to tell you it will take longer). The questionnaire includes questions about your favorite meal of the day, whether you sleep with an alarm, and your history of insomnia. Once you are assigned to an Animal Chronotype group, the site directs you to a video of Dr. Breus explaining his super-secret sleep identity. And trust us, you’ll want to watch it – it may very well help you become your most rested, satisfied, and productive self yet.
Are you a bear, lion, wolf or dolphin? Take the chronotype test to find your sleeping animal.
What are the 4 chronotypes and how do you discover yours?
Bear: About 50 percent of the population
Personality: According with the doctor. Breus, a bear is an extroverted “team player”. Their people skills are spot on, so they make great managers.
Diet: Just like Winnie the Pooh – the most accurate cartoon portrait of all bears – they love to graze to eat throughout the day (with take-out honey pots and other snacks).
exercise trends: They may or may not be committed to sweat gains, the doctor notes.
Sleeps: “Bears like to sleep for seven to eight hours, but they go to sleep a few times in the morning,” explains the doctor.
famous bears: Stephen King, Ellen Degeneres, Ariana Huffington
Lion: About 15-20 percent of the population
Personality: “They set optimistic goals and get things done,” says Dr. Pitches. He adds that they are also leaders with analytical minds. They often take leadership positions, but they don’t take risks.
Diet: Lions are attentive to observe their indulgences. Instead, they are on the lookout for protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables.
exercise trends: Your friend who never stops talking about CrossFit or your next ultramarathon is probably a lion. These individuals love to conquer challenges of their own for predators.
Sleeps: They wake up early, eager to face the day.
famous lions: Maya AngelouBenjamin FranklinKevin Johnson
Wolf: About 15-20 percent of the population
Personality: People describe wolves as fearless, explains Dr. Pitches. They see the world through an intuitive lens and are totally fine with being awake when most people are deep in their dreams. Risky situations are where they feel most at home, so they often act on impulse. You’ll find them working in creative fields like the arts.
Diet: “Although they are never hungry in the morning, they are hungry after dark,” says the sleep expert. They like to snack until the wee hours of the morning.
exercise trends: Dr. Breus tells Incredible that he might want to save his gym sessions for after work. Beforehand, a short walk can help them wake up to the (disappointing) fact that they need to be awake when the sun is out to make a living.
Sleeps: They sleep after a night full of adventures.
famous wolves: Mark Twain, Barack Obama, Bill 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 extremely independent and excel at problem solving.
Diet: “They’re usually the eat-to-live type with a naturally fast metabolism,” explains Dr. Pitches.
exercise trends: Some stick to their exercise routines loyally. Some don’t feel they need it because they have such a high metabolism.
Sleeps: Dolphins rarely wake up feeling fully rested. When night falls, however, they can 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