The more scientists learn about the different sleep patterns that exist, the more we understand how limited the division of people into early birds and night owls truly is. In fact, many sleep specialists critique these avian-inspired chronotypes for lacking nuance. One of the critics, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist Michael Breus came up with an alternative system of dividing people according to their biological clock into 4 groups called chronotypes: bears, lions, wolves and dolphins. Each group has its own characteristics and Breus has specific sleep, dietary and activity recommendations for each type. Instead of fighting one's chronotype, Braus claims, we should learn to embrace and make the most out of them. Simply take this test to determine your chronotype and learn what your sleep animal can tell about your lifestyle and personality.
Are you a sensitive sleeper?
Have you been diagnosed with insomnia at any point in your life?
I have self-diagnosed insomnia
Eat to live or live to eat?
Do you ever wake up before your alarm rings?
All the time, I don’t even use an alarm
Rarely, I usually push the snooze button a few times before waking up
No way, I have a backup alarm and hit snooze several times
Are you often tired and irritated during work hours?
I sometimes get tired by the end of the day
Do small unfinished details in a project or chore irritate you?
How well do you sleep on a plane?
I have trouble falling asleep on a plane
I usually take short naps
If you had a free day and gave yourself permission to sleep as long as you like, when would you wake up?
What's your favorite meal to have?
If you could choose any time of the day, when would you prefer to exercise to get the most out of your workout?
Sometime between late morning and before afternoon
In the afternoon or later
I don’t really feel the need to exercise
How likely are you to take risks?
I’d rather avoid risky situations
I’m willing to take a risk when the stakes are high
I love finding myself in risky situations and challenging myself
When are you the most productive?
I need a good 2-4 hours after waking up to reach my peak
It's impossible to predict
Do you take naps often?
Rarely, because I can’t fall asleep at night after taking a nap
Sometimes, when I’m particularly tired or jetlagged
Which of the following best describes you?
I’m future-oriented, I have big plans and clear goals
I’m informed by the past, optimistic about the future, but live in the moment
I’m focused on the present, it's all about what feels good at the moment
How do you feel right when you get up?
Bright-eyed and ready to welcome the day
Dazed and confused at first, but things clear up pretty quickly
I wake up groggy and stay that way for at least an hour
How’s your appetite shortly after waking up?
I’m not particularly hungry
Imagine you didn’t have any things to do and places to go, when would you fall asleep naturally?
Around 10-12 PM sounds perfect
I’d likely fall asleep after 1AM or even pull an all-nighter
You’re a Bear
About half of the population are also bears.
Personality: Bears are outgoing and communicative, and they make an excellent “team-player”.
Sleep: Your biological clock follows the rise and fall of the sun, so waking up around 7 AM is perfect for you, but it must be noted that many bears are “guilty” of snoozing the alarm now and then. On average, you need around 7-8 hours of sleep, and you will feel the most energized between late morning and early afternoon.
Diet and exercise: A bear is best off with a high-protein breakfast and a light dinner. Since most bears aren’t early birds and they can be quite sleepy in the mornings, they should reserve their exercise routine to the late afternoon and early evening.
Celebrities who are also bears: Stephen King, Ellen Degeneres.
You’re a Lion
15-20% of the population are also lions.
Personality: Lions are typically very persistent and optimistic, with a talent to inspire others and achieve the goals they set before them. This, as you might imagine, makes them excellent leaders, but they do like to play it safe and rarely take risks.
Sleep: Lions wake up super early and stay energetic until noon time, gradually becoming more and more exhausted as the day progresses. This is why they usually fall asleep quite early by modern standards and are known to take a midday nap to replenish their energy.
Diet and exercise: Lions typically eat quite healthy and they often engage in competitive sports and exercises, which can help them realize their competitiveness. Contrary to intuition, though, it’s best for them to exercise in the late afternoon, as the sports activity can give them an extra energetic boost for a few hours.
Celebrities who are also lions: Maya Angelou, Benjamin Franklin.
You’re a Wolf
Around 15-20% of the population are wolves.
Personality: Creative, impulsive and risk-taking are the 3 words that best describe wolves. They are often the ones working in creative fields, partly because of their unusual sleep schedule.
Sleep: Wolves hardly ever can fall asleep before 12 PM, which can often make them miserable, as they’re so out of sync with the rest of the world. In fact, their peak activity falls to late afternoon or evening hours and waking up before 9 AM surely feels like torture to them.
Diet and exercise: Wolves often have a light snack in the morning or skip breakfast altogether, and they’re typically not particularly hungry during the day either. As the afternoon struts on, however, their appetite typically increases and they often enjoy a large dinner as late as 9 PM. This is completely normal, but squeezing in a workout between work and dinner may prove to be challenging, so it’s best for them to enjoy and activity boost in the morning instead.
Celebrities who are also bears: Mark Twain, Barack Obama.
You’re a Dolphin
Less than 10% percent of people are dolphins.
Personality: Highly intelligent and independent, dolphins are outstanding problem-solvers. But because of their perfectionist nature, they are often stressed out and anxious.
Sleep: The neurotic nature of dolphins make it difficult for them to feel truly rested in the morning. They are often diagnosed with insomnia and find it difficult to fall asleep at night and experience racing thoughts. Apart from that, dolphins are very sensitive sleepers and can wake up in the middle of the night. During the day, they experience sporadic spurs of energy and motivation.
Diet and exercise: Many dolphins have a very fast metabolism and can eat whatever they want whenever they want. Their fast metabolism is also the reason why they often don’t feel the need to exercise, but it is recommended for them to do so because it can improve their sleep. The best time for them to work out is the morning.
Celebrities who are also dolphins: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens.