Have you ever said "I'm not a morning person?" Or maybe you’re the type of person who rises with the sun and can miraculously get everything on your to-do list done by 11 a.m.
It turns out there’s a reason you function better at different times of the day and it all comes down to biology and genetics. The "Sleep Doctor,” Dr. Michael Breus, a California-based clinical psychologist and sleep specialist who’s also the author of “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype,” has some advice to offer.
Once you understand the way your body’s biological clock is ticking then you have the key to “working with your body instead of against it,” he explained.
According to Breus, knowing your sleep chronotype, or your natural inclination to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period, can help you determine when to do things like take a nap or when you should ask for a raise. Take this quiz to find out what your sleep chronotype is.
Breus defines a person’s internal clock and rhythm by four chronotypes: dolphins, lions, bears or wolves. Most people, he says, fall into the bear category, but knowing your specific chronotype can tell you the perfect time to do well, anything.
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According to Breus, about 15-20 percent of people are lions. Lions are conscientious, stable and practical animals. People who wind up in the lion chronotype are usually overachievers and they prioritize health and positive interactions.
"They are up at the crack of dawn, full of energy, and doing what they do best," Breus explained. If you're a lion, you should plan your day around getting the most done in the early hours. Start responding to emails and get in a good workout. Plan to do the least intense activities at night when you're not at your sharpest.
About 50 percent of people are bears. These people tend to avoid conflict and prioritize happiness, Breus said. These are extroverts who like to socialize and they tend to be team players.
"Human 'bears'" usually follow the schedule of society, with sleep-wake patterns matching the solar cycle. "Human bears like to get their seven or eight hours of sleep and will hit the snooze button a few times in the morning," Breus said. So plan to go to bed at a decent time to get in those extra hours.
These are the self-proclaimed "night owls," about 15-20 percent of the population. Breus explained that these people have a hard time waking up early and are most energetic in the evenings. They’re often impulsive, pessimistic, creative and moody people who "march to the beat of a different drum," and that is fine by them.
"A late-night person is like a wolf. They are nocturnal. Their energy level is later in the day (early evening in fact)," Breus noted. Wolves can plan to be most productive at night, so maybe save that intense workout for later on so you can maximize energy.
Only 10 percent of people tend to be dolphins. These are the people who struggle the most with insomnia, Breus explained. These are highly intelligent people who are light sleepers and often perfectionists — but almost to a fault.
"They tend to wake up feeling unrefreshed and feeling tired until the late evening when suddenly they feel more alert. They have productivity spurts throughout the day," said Breus. "They try to nap, but are often unsuccessful."
Take this quiz to find out what your sleep chronotype is.