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Want To Sleep Better? Discover Your Chronotype

Are you more active in the mornings or evenings? Like to be in bed by 8 pm or enjoy staying up till late? Every person has unique patterns of alertness throughout different times of the day. Our bodies function according to our individual biological clocks and sleep chronotypes.

Identifying your chronotype allows you to plan your activities for the times of the day when you feel more energetic and productive. The key is to build your routine according to your body's natural inclinations. Conversely, setting up habits that go against your body's natural chronotype can waste energy and cause you to feel depleted, unproductive, and set off social jetlag.

What is a chronotype?

A chronotype is a circadian typology that influences your daily natural behaviour and accounts for differences in alertness in the morning and evening. Chronotypes vary from person to person depending on factors such as age, genetics, and sometimes even geographical location. Recent studies have found that your sleep chronotype can change as you age.

Your sleep chronotype is closely related to the circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm can be controlled or trained by following a strict schedule, but your sleep chronotype is a more stable part of your natural state, which is why it's so important to work with it rather than against it.

Why is knowing your sleep chronotype so important?

Understanding your sleep chronotype and adjusting your routine accordingly will make your life easier. Everything from productivity windows, sex drive, personality, risk-taking, creative thinking, and even appetite are affected by your chronotype.

It's also important to note that sleep chronotypes can shift through life as we age. In younger children, we often see an early chronotype where they're up and about at the crack of dawn, are balls of endless energy through the day but begin to deplete as the sun disappears. When moving into adolescence, that chronotype shifts, and they start to sleep longer and don't gain energy till later in the day, which is why we think our teenagers are lazy! From your early 20s onwards, that chronotype usually begins to shift earlier again and keeps increasing slowly with age.

Do Sleep Chronotypes impact men and women differently?

Yes, during childhood. Boys and girls have very different sleep schedules even if they have the same age. Females have a natural tendency to rise earlier and be more energetic earlier in the day than males.

Sleep chronotypes affect different genders and people in unique ways and are also impacted by other factors such as career, mental drive, tasks, and other societal influences. However, as we age, this gap between genders closes, and around our 50's, the gender's sleep chronotypes become more in sync.

What's Your Chronotype?

To discover your current sleep chronotype, we suggest you set aside a day with zero plans, no obligations, and the ability to wake whenever you want to. Then, how you wake and act that day should indicate your sleep chronotype! Another way is to take sleep expert Olivia Arezzolos's sleep chronotype quiz; all you need to do is answer a few questions, and you'll have your sleep chronotype in no time!

The main chronotypes:

The Bear: The bear chronotype is one of the most common, making up just over half the population. Bears shine in everyday social structure.

They tend to follow the sun, do well in the morning, during traditional work hours and can hold creativity and socialisation in the evenings. Bears' productivity peak is usually between 10 am - 2 pm, and their energy gradually decreases as the day continues (following the sun). Bears are also RENOWNED for hitting a 3 pm energy slump.

Bears are known to be grounded, humble, reliable, and high-performing perfectionists, meaning they also face a lot of daily stresses. They work best in teams where they can bounce their creativity off others!

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo's top tips for bears:

  1. Be in bed no later than 10:30 pm, as any later can result in bedtime anxiety!
  2. To overcome fatigue, take 10-minute breaks every few hours AT LEAST.

The Wolf:  Wolves make up around 15% of the population and are more energetic later in the day and the evening. Wolves are most productive between 12-4 pm and have random bursts of energy later in the day.

Their bursts of energy often cause wolves to stay up later than they should- but they should be in bed no later than 11 pm to keep a healthy and manageable sleep schedule.

Wolves also have a genetic disposition for addiction- which can be attached to work, technology, alcohol or substances!

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo's top tips for Wolves:

  1. DO NOT SLEEP IN- if a wolf sleeps in, they misalign their circadian rhythm. A misaligned circadian rhythm can cause disrupted sleep and sleep patterns, daytime fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and mood shifts.

The Lion: The Lion is more productive in the mornings and suitable for the traditional social structure. This chronotype does not face as many issues as the wolves usually do; however, they struggle to keep up in the evenings as their social battery, creativity, and production decrease. Peak productivity time is between 8 am-12 pm.

Lions' bedtime tends to be around 9 pm each night, with them asleep NO LATER than 10 pm to keep their circadian rhythm aligned.

Of all the chronotypes, lions require the least amount of sleep. The hormone adenosine promotes sleepiness and dissipates in lions faster than in wolves or bears, meaning they can often feel rested even with less sleep!

Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo's top tips for Lions:

  1. Lions face problems with overworking and anxiety- it's essential to be aware of this and address it accordingly so it doesn't interrupt productivity.

The bottom line

Understanding and identifying your chronotype can help you sleep better and be more productive and healthier. You'll see positive and effortless changes as soon as you align your habits with your sleep chronotype and start listening to your body's natural inclinations.!

Whether you're a Bear, Wolf, or Lion, knowing your sleep chronotype is the first step to better sleep. If unsure of your chronotype, take Olivia Arezzolo's Quiz to discover.

If you want to learn more about Sleep Chronotypes, watch the webinar with Sleep Expert Olivia Arezzolo.

Take control of your health today with WellBeing!


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