Are you an early bird? Maybe your a night owl. The question is, do you naturally rise and shine early in the day or would you do better sleeping in and going late at night? Have you ever been made to feel guilty for always sleeping in, or being hard to arouse in the the mornings? Come to find out, it has nothing to do with one being a harder more disciplined worker over the other being lazy and slothful. It actually has to do with your individual chronotype.
We all have circadian rhythm, or a time schedule of hormone secretion and production that creates sleep and performance schedules. However, we may not all be on the same schedule. we know that every human produces cortisol in the mornings when adrenalin is at its lowest, and this gives us the ability to get up and moving, and hurry if we need to. We also produce melatonin in the evenings as a precursor to sleep and this helps us to down regulate and relax. But this rhythm is not on the same schedule for everyone.
You are not an early bird, nor a night owl. In his new book, “The Power of When”, Michael Breus lays out 4 distinct animal characteristics that help to determine which circadian rhythm you belong to. Consider yourself…
1. The Lion
The lion is an early mover. They rise early and lay down early. The get up and attack the day. They have a particular order of things and do not like to deviate.
2. The Bear
The bear doesn’t rise as early in the day as the lion. He spends his day mixing work and play. He could nap throughout the day. they are extroverts and enjoy being in the crowd, hanging out.
3. The Wolf
Wolves like it late. They are impulsive, creative and moody. They would be most alert around 7:00 pm.
4. The Dolphin
Dolphins are highly intelligent but problem sleepers. They may tend to have a bit of obsessive-compulsiveness. They strive for perfection and are most alert late at night.
Now, why is it important to know your chronotype? Well, its best to understand your body and how it works so that you can glean the best performance. If you’re a wolf, stop feeling guilty for not being able to get it together at 5am. But, this may mean that you need to take a little more time in the morning and your best performance will come later in the day or at night. This also comes in handy when taking medication. When is the best time for taking medication for your chronotype? When will your body best absorb it?
This is also important for couples. Perhaps you do not share the same chronotype. You need to be aware of this so that you can better meet one another’s needs. Your hormone clocks are not set to the same time if you are two different chronotypes. For example, take a man and woman with two different chronotypes. They will have two different levels of testosterone and estrogen throughout the day that is based on their circadian rhythm. If she’s a lion, she is producing higher levels early; if he’s a bear he’s producing higher levels a little later. For a lion, they would benefit most from morning sex. The bear, however, may prefer to wait till a little later in the morning or early afternoon.
Discovering your chronotype will help to answer so many questions about how and why you behave the way you do. I am a lion/bear. Finding this out has helped to explain why i struggle to stay up late when my friends are just getting geared up and going out. It’s helped me to realize why I enjoy taking breaks throughout the day to throw in some creative work or play. If I don’t use an alarm clock I naturally wake up at 7:30am but if i need to, I can get going much earlier.
Want to know what chronotype you are? You can find out for free at http://www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com