Bear, Wolf, Lion or Dolphin: How Understanding your Sleep Type Will Change your Life
Sleep is big business these days — one in three people are believed to experience sleep deprivation — and everyone is keen to rely on the latest fashionable theory.
For years, sleep cycles were divided into two categories. People who enjoy mornings were known as “early birds.” And those of us who prefer staying up late were labeled “night owls.”
Well, step-aside birds. Mammals are the new name of the game. That’s right; scientists now believe there are four ways to classify sleep/wake cycles. In the science world, these classifications are known as chronotypes.
Chronotypes describe the periods when your body wants to sleep and when it wants to be awake. And to make it easier, the chronotype categories are named after animals. Our natural sleep tendencies are now categorized as bear, wolf, lion, and dolphin.
It is crucial to understand your animal chronotype. Once you do, you can start to schedule your life around your body’s natural cycles. Kaiyan Medical suggests that this may help you sleep better and feel more productive at work.
Two Animals are not Enough
People have different circadian rhythms. That’s just a fact of life.
Science shows that:
“The human circadian system actively synchronizes to the 24-h day via environmental signals of light and darkness.”
Circadian? A 24-hour cycle. It’s your body clock. Sleep psychologists reckon they can determine our natural sleeping patterns. By understanding our own, we can have a happier, more productive life.
Now, Chronotype is a term that describes a person’s natural rhythm. And it doesn’t only relate to sleep. Chronotypes influence all primal instincts.
Author Michael Breus, Ph.D., recently suggested that there are 4 natural chronotypes. And he named these after 4 animals that follow similar sleep/wake patterns. So, say goodbye to night owls and early birds. Wolves, lions, bears, and dolphins are the new circadian rhythm mascots.
Check out the chronotypes below and let us know in the comment section which one sounds like you!
Alright, night owls, this is your group. Just like these nocturnal creatures, you are most alert at night. Wolves tend to stay up later and struggle with waking up early.
Only about 15% of the population falls into this group. Wolves are more productive in the later afternoon and evening.
Sleep experts recommend that wolves set their alarm for 7 a.m. (snooze for 30 minutes) and go to sleep by midnight.
Lions are the new early birds. Like these wild cats, you are most alert in the morning. You have no trouble waking up and getting to work. But, lions tend to feel the afternoon slump. And by the evening, they feel drained.
About 15% of the population identifies as a lion. Sleep experts recommend that lions wake up around 5:30 a.m. and go to sleep by 10:30 p.m.
No, you don’t need to hibernate. But, like these diurnal (awake during the day, asleep at night) creatures, you follow the solar cycle. Bears generally feel awake during the day and need 8-hours of solid sleep at night.
About 50% of the population falls into this category. This group is productive in the morning and struggles with the mid-afternoon slump. Sleep experts recommend that bears wake up around 7 a.m. and go to sleep by 11 p.m.
Dolphins “only sleep with half of their brain at a time?” Sound familiar? Well, this is the insomniac (often self-diagnosed) group. You might be anxious and have trouble turning your brain off at night. Dolphins usually don’t get a complete night’s sleep.
About 10% of the population falls in this category. And even though they wake-up tired, dolphins are most productive by mid-morning.
Sleep experts recommend that dolphins get up around 6 a.m. and try to sleep around midnight.
Sleep Like an Animal
Who doesn’t want a better night’s sleep and a more productive day? Start scheduling your days based on your chronotypes! Once you know more about your chronotype, you can form sleep patterns that work with (not against!) your body’s natural rhythms.
So what are you waiting for? Here in Kaiyan, we are embracing our inner animals and start following our optimal sleep schedule.
Fischer, Dorothee et al. "Chronotypes in the US – Influence of age and sex." PubMed, 21 Jun. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5479630/
Bellis, Rich. "How To Design Your Ideal Workday Based On Your Sleep Habits." Fast Company, 26 Nov. 2017, www.fastcompany.com/40491564/how-to-design-your-ideal-workday-based-on-your-sleep-habits
Levi, Anthea. "This Is the Best Time of Day to Do Everything, According to Your Chronotype." Health.com, 31 Oct. 2016, www.health.com/mind-body/how-to-get-more-energy-chronotype