Health & Fitness, Fitness & diet, Fitness & Training

Understand yourself better and optimise your energy according to your chronotype

A chronotype corresponds to the biological rhythm specific to each person, regulated on a 24-hour cycle. Based on the 4 profiles established by Dr Michael Breus, find out if you are a wolf, bear, lion or dolphin and establish your schedule by taking into account your circadian rhythm.

What is a chronotype?

Your chronotype refers to the optimal way of distributing your activity and sleep over 24 hours. Everyone has their own preferences, so you may define yourself as an “evening person” or a “morning person”. Your profile is based on your internal biological clock, which is regulated by circadian rhythms: your body sends you signals to tell you when it is time to sleep, wake up or even eat. These mechanisms are linked to various factors, such as exposure to daylight, genetics and habits, and are largely linked to hormonal processes.

Knowing your chronotype allows you to organise your days better. Exercise when you need to, know when to tackle a creative task or when you are most productive! Should you take a nap or not? Would you benefit from getting up earlier (or going to bed later)? Michael Breus, psychologist and sleep specialist, tries to answer all these questions in his book “The Power of When”. His subject can be summed up in one sentence: what if the real question was not what to do but when to do what?

And Michael Breus has found a very entertaining way to help us answer it!

Are you a bear, lion, wolf or dolphin? Find your chronotype!

To make it easier to understand the different chronotypes, Michael Breus has drawn up 4 typical profiles based on animal names, which correspond to the main characteristics found in people. Discover their characteristics and tell us which one you recognise yourself in!

The bear chronotype

  • Estimated: 50% of the population.
  • Mantra: “Subway, work, sleep.”
  • Ideal day: lives in harmony with the sun, with longer sleep times in winter than in summer. Needs at least 8 hours of sleep per night to be fit and often has trouble waking up in the morning.
  • Frustrations: often feel that all they do is work and that they do not enjoy their days enough.
  • Optimal wake-up time: between 7 am and 9 am.
  • Leave them alone: until 10 am.
  • Productivity zone: 10 am to 1 pm.
  • Creativity zone: 1 pm to 6 pm.
  • Bedtime: between 11 pm and midnight.

The lion chronotype

  • Estimated: 20% of the population.
  • Mantra: “The future belongs to those who get up early!”.
  • Ideal day: as soon as the alarm clock rings (and sometimes even before), the lion gets up and starts its day straight away. This is the profile most in line with the “Miracle morning”. They tend to be workaholics and correspond to the image of a passionate entrepreneur. On the other hand, don’t rely too much on a lion to stay up late at night.
  • Frustrations: has difficulty communicating with other profiles who do not live the day at the same hours as they do (by the time their colleagues get up, some of their work is already done).
  • Optimal wake-up time: between 5 am and 7 am.
  • Productivity zone: 8 am to 12 pm.
  • Creative zone: 12 pm to 3 pm.
  • Leave them alone: after 3 pm.
  • Bedtime: around 10 pm.

The wolf chronotype

  • Estimated: 20% of the population.
  • Mantra: “Until the end of the night…”.
  • Ideal day: For the wolf, going to bed is just as difficult as getting up in the morning. As night people, they often have their best ideas in the evening.
  • Frustrations: their ideal schedule is not really compatible with office hours; the wolf sometimes only feels like himself at the weekend or on holiday, and Monday mornings are all the more difficult.
  • Optimal wake-up time: between 9 am and 11 am.
  • Leave them alone: until 2 pm.
  • Creative zone: 2pm to 5pm.
  • Productivity zone: 5 pm to 8 pm.
  • New creativity zone: 8 pm to 11 pm.
  • Bedtime: around midnight.

The Dolphin chronotype

  • Estimated: 10% of the population.
  • Mantra: “You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” (Swami Satchidananda).
  • Ideal day: The dolphin is a light sleeper, sleeps little, gets up early and benefits from working in the morning. In the afternoon, they have little energy. This profile is the rarest of all. Going to bed late is not a problem for them.
  • Frustrations: despite a productive start to the day (they do not get up early with joy like the lion, but instead because they cannot get back to sleep), the fact that they do not feel very efficient in the afternoon is not very motivating: they rarely manage to complete their ambitious tasks. Their renewed energy in the evening boosts their morale: this is an asset for their extra-curricular activities.
  • Optimal wake-up time: between 6 am and 7 am.
  • Leave him alone: until 8 am, they prepare for their day, exercise, meditate or take time for themselves.
  • Productivity zone: 8 am to 11 am.
  • Creative zone: 11 am to 2 pm.
  • Leave them alone: between 2 pm and 5 pm, don’t ask them to make a big effort.
  • Bedtime: often late. Anxious, they will still manage to get up early the next day.

How can you improve your daily life by knowing your chronotype?

These profiles are only guidelines, of course, and as your life changes, you may well move from one to the other (or feel in between). But they can reassure you about the feelings you sometimes have in your day-to-day life, help you avoid feeling guilty if you don’t feel in tune with established conventions (such as office hours), if you can’t implement a piece of advice because it doesn’t fit you, or to help you interact better with your loved ones.

By using these tips to find your own chronotype, you will be able to optimise your days more effectively, as the aim is to feel good and remind yourself that you are unique!

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