33: Understanding Your Chronotype

Things That Keep Us Up At Night

Mar 23 2021 • 19 mins

*Today's episode is a re-airing of Episode 12 of the Things That Keep Us Up at Night Podcast.

I first learned about chronotypes in Dr. Michael Breus’ book The Power of When. In his book, he writes about how our bodies are programmed to do certain things at certain times of the day. Eat, sleep, have sex, be creative, get nitty-gritty tasks done, etc. By identifying what category you fall into, you can lead a healthier, happier, life and experience more ease in your day to day tasks.

What’s a chronotype? A chronotype is the classification of the general timing of your biological clock. For our purposes, it is the programming that exists in each person’s biology that tells them when they should wake up and go to sleep.

Unlike our horoscope, our chronotype CAN CHANGE. Most teenagers tend to be wolves, staying up late and sleeping in. This may change when they get into their twenties. It may change again when they become seniors. But, for the 40 years between 20-60 years old, things stay relatively consistent. If you’re looking to get better sleep with ease, improve your productivity, or become more mindful of your habits knowing your chronotype may be the missing link!

There are 4 chronotypes, according to Dr. Michael Breus:

  • Bears: middle of the road types, people who prefer a solar-based schedule and have a high sleep drive, 50% of the population
  • Lions: 15-20% of the population, Lions would be tired of hearing “the early bird gets the worm”, but we’re pretty sure they’re the ones that came up with the phrase.
  • Wolves: 15-20% of the population., formally known as night owls, Wolves are those of us who are most awake, alert, and productive in the evenings.
  • Dolphins: Make up only 10% of the population. Sleep, who? Dolphins know what it’s like to run off a few hours sleep or wake up to the slightest noise. People with insomnia fall into this category.

Remember with sleep, there is no one, magic bullet. But, making small, incremental changes can make a BIG impact. When you’re not fighting against your biology, those changes are going to be easier to make.

When I talk about listening to your body, this is one way to do that.

As always, there are ideals in life and then there’s the reality. You may HAVE to be up at a certain time for work or to help your kids get ready, but if you can make even just ONE of these changes, you probably see a difference in your experience while you’re awake and how you sleep.

We see life through the lens of how much we slept the night before. If you can shift small things and get more/better sleep, you will start to experience more ease and joy.

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