Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chronotypes: What's Your Animal?

By: Joel Luedke

I had never heard the term chronotypes until I started listening more about cycling your sleep and how that combined with travel with sports (cross country mainly) can really affect your performance. Another topic came out of that discussion and it was the ideas of chronotypes.  This is a group of categories that most people fall into and it shows how they might function. 

I had finally figured out for myself that I am not a late night person.  I get to a point and my brain is just fried and I know that nothing else I am doing is going to be retained.  This actually worked out for me in college as I rarely gave up a ton of sleep to 'cram' as I found it just didn't work out well.  For me getting up in the morning allowed for greater productivity and fit my type better. When I heard about chronotypes it peaked my interested on how I fit in.  

The first two are the 'old school' chronotypes that you may have heard of.

Early Bird: This is your typical Type A personality that is up and rolling before the sun comes up and ready to get more things done before most have woken up.  They are most often not the most creative but can definitely organize and get things done.

Night Owl: This is the late night, video gaming, creative, right?  In the traditional couple chronotypes this is the person that typically works better late at night and then sleeps in later the next morning.  This is often a creative but doesn't cover everyone in that category.

Now Dr. Michael Breus has taken chronotyping to the next level and expanded it out to four different groups. Below are the descriptions.

Dr. Michael Breus' 4 Main Chronotypes (aka Sleep Animals)
Bear: The most common (50-55%).  This is the middle of the road chronotype and one that likes to rise and set with the sun.  'Typical' work hours seem to work well for this group.

Lion: This group makes up 15% and is closest to the 'early bird'.  They tend to be Type A and fit in well with running operations of all sorts.  They typically are up and ready to go with the day planned prior to most the world getting up.  This is a go-getter group.

Dolphin: 10% of the population is this group and they tend to struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders.  While sleep problems are prevalent in this group they tend to also be Type A and driven people but have enough OCD to keep from completely finishing tasks.

Wolf: This last one makes up about 15% of the population and they are the night owls.  More often they are creative types but can also be introverts.  This includes: authors, artists, entrepreneurs and bartenders.

What It All Means:
I think being honest with yourself and knowing where you might fall in these chornotypes can help you figure out how you best function.  If you've constantly been trying to stay up late and be productive and it just never seems to get you where you want to be your body may not be able to handle that timing of the day.  This could help you operate at a higher function throughout the day and ay be the game changer that you need.

LINK: Optimal Performance Podcast

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