Day to night transition of Chicago cityscape from Adler Planetarium - Feb 2020You’ve probably heard of ‘night owls’ and ‘early birds’. And you likely self-identify with one more than the other. These terms are known as chronotypes, and there’s more to it than the above everyday phrases that are casually thrown around. It’s a useful way to classify your sleeping pattern according to one of four classification animal categories: the Bear, the Wolf, the Lion and the Dolphin.

What is a chronotype?

It’s a person’s genetic guide to how their circadian rhythm pattern and internal body clock works in everyday life.

Do you feel most productive at night or during the day? Do you have difficulty falling asleep or is it easy for you? The answers to these questions makes up your specific chronotype. It’s the main biological indicator of when you naturally fall asleep, wake up and your timeline for activities such as eating, sleep and sex.

Eva Cohen, a certified sleep science coach, states: “Knowing your chronotype may help you understand how your internal clock works and how you can synchronize it with your daily activities and duties to use your time most efficiently.”

Sleep researcher and psychologist Dr. Michael Breus brought this to widespread attention in his 2016 book The Power of When. Though Russian researchers also had similar findings in 2015. Continue reading to learn more about chronotypes, how to find yours and how to make it work for you.

The 4 main chronotypes: Do you recognize yourself in any of them?

What’s my chronotype?

If you really want to dive deeper into knowing which chronotype best describes you, there’s a few ways you can do this:

Of course, it’s important to mention that these categories are not going to represent you 100%. And they don’t represent your value or worth as an individual.

Like many other classifications, chronotypes are going to have various degrees of difference at the individual level. So even though you might be a Wolf, it doesn’t mean you’re always going to be alert and energized close to midnight.

How can knowing your chronotype help you get better sleep?

Your chronotype is your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. But the way we live our life in other elements like work, food, etc also dictate the quality of our sleep. And the more informed you are about what works for you in any aspect of life, the more you can fully thrive.

chronotypes infographic

Make your chronotype work for you

Sleep is a necessary and important component of living healthy, fuller lives. There’s plenty of tools to help you get better sleep and gaining insight into your chronotype is just another avenue to help. But if you’re really struggling with sleep – it’s always best to discuss this with a doctor.