Sometimes it’s not about doing all the right things, but WHEN you do them. If you want to maximize your energy levels, it’s all about timing. Having the energy to carry out important tasks means you need to identify your chronotype, and then adjust your schedule accordingly to see the most productive results.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders and in his book The Power of When, he names 4 different chronotypes. Your chronotype is actually a kind of inner clock which determines the best time for performing various activities, such as sleeping, eating, working, and so on. Thus, Breus created 4 new chronotypes and linked them to 4 animals, breaking down the best times for different activities for each type, based on preferences, hormones and biology.
What are the four different chronotypes?
Dolphins in nature are light sleepers as they only rest one half of the brain while the other half is alert, and even the small noise can wake them up. If your chronotype is dolphin, it means you are intelligent, perfectionists, nervous and have a difficult time to fall asleep as you worry about so many details. You have a low sleep drive, and you often lay at night going through your past mistakes thinking what you could have done differently, thus you wake up feeling tired. You love to exercise, but not because you want to lose weight – you don’t need that as you have fast metabolism. You can be little obsessed with what you eat or drink.
If all this sounds quite familiar, then you are definitely the dolphin type. Dolphins can function with just 6 hours of sleep, and their ideal time for going to bed is around 11.30 p.m. and waking time around 7.30 a.m. or earlier. When doing complex activities, it’s important to be at your peak when your brain is most active, and that’s from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dolphins. If you wish to relax and recharge during the day, the best activities are yoga and meditation.
Lions are very optimistic, love mornings and rising up early. They feel most energized and productive in the morning. They are leaders who develop the strategic way of thinking. Lions are very organized and they don’t like to take big risks, but rather apply their analytical thinking when facing challenges. The most comfortable role for them is the role of the leader in any situation, and even when troubles come, they will take a step back and make adjustments to their strategy. Junk food is not their thing, and they try to eat really healthy, except when they are upset.
If you are a lion, the perfect time to hit the sack is around 10 p.m. and ideal wake up time is from 5.30 a.m. to 6 a.m. As lions love morning, this is the time when you should get all the important things done – ideally between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Lions also love to exercise with high intensity – as this is also one of the ways for them to achieve goals and feel proud of themselves.
Bears are fun, outgoing and sociable people. It’s easy for them to make friends and form close relationships. They like to be a part of the team and even though they may not be as focused as lions, they get things done. As the real animal, the bear type follows a solar-based schedule with maybe a nap in between. They are really active during the day and rest when the sun goes down, 7-8 hours minimum and probably some more if they can. Don’t be surprised if you see a bear groggy in the morning – they need some time to wake up. When it comes to food, bear are not really picky and they can always eat.
If you are a bear, you probably like to go to bed around 11 p.m. and wake up around 7.30 a.m. Those are the ideal times for a bear even though bears can sleep until 12 p.m. if they have nothing else to do. As they need some time to wake up and feel energized, bears are at their peak from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – that’s the ideal time for tasks requiring focus. This type likes to be around people and bears get bored if they are alone for some time.
Wolves are night creatures, and surprisingly very emotional, creative, insightful and intuitive. They are the artistic type who feels most productive in the evening. Wolves are a bit introverted, and you’ll probably see them sitting in a corner at some party, rather than being in the spotlight. Yet, if they are in the good mood they can become the life of the party. They like to experience new things, they are spontaneous and impulsive. People often characterize them as fearless and they don’t run away from risky situations, in fact, they often find themselves in such situations. They don’t really take much care about what they eat or drink, thus they have a tendency to obesity, and they tend to suffer from depression and anxiety more than other types.
If you are a wolf, then you probably don’t go to bed before midnight and get up late. If you need to get up really early, better set two alarm clocks. Wolves are most productive and creative from 5 p.m. to midnight. They are truly the night owls and this is their time to shine.
When it comes to staying energized thought the whole day, that is really hard and almost impossible for every type. The best thing we can do is to listen to our biological clock and figure out when we are most productive and try to do as much work as we can during that period. It is important to listen to your organism and find balance between work and rest.
To find out what your chronotype is and what your peak hours are during the day.