Today’s Solutions: May 31, 2023

Getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for our overall health, but unfortunately, there isn’t a standardized sleeping schedule that will work for everyone. That’s because, much like personality types, each person falls into one of four different “sleep chronotypes,” and each chronotype requires different routines for maximum efficiency and energy levels during the waking hours.

Below, you’ll read some sleep optimizing advice for each chronotype from board-certified sleep specialist Michael J Breus, Ph.D. If you’re unfamiliar with which chronotype you are, take this quiz to find out!

The bear

Bears usually get five full (90-minute) sleep cycles during the night and prefer to wake up around 7:00 am. Five sleep cycles add up to 450 minutes, but when the 20-ish minutes it takes to fall asleep is factored in, the total is 470 minutes. This number subtracted from 7:00 am gives bears the optimal bedtime of 11:10 pm.

According to Breus, bear types generally live by the sun, which means they wake up and go to bed fairly early. Bears are the most productive in the morning, so should avoid scheduling big tasks in the afternoon where they might begin losing steam.

The wolf

Wolves tend to only sleep for four full sleep cycles which adds up to 360 minutes and can take up to 40 minutes to fall asleep, making their total sleep time around 400 minutes. Wolves, like bears, like to wake up around 7:00 am, which makes their optimal bedtime around midnight.

To help with the morning grogginess that wolves often struggle with, Breus suggests drinking water and getting some light exposure directly after waking up to signal the body that it’s time to start the day. Wolves tend to enjoy slow, relaxed mornings and should schedule big tasks for later in the day when they’re feeling most productive. To help wolves who really struggle to fall asleep, it wouldn’t hurt to try out a sleep-supporting supplement if okayed by a medical professional.

The lion

The lion chronotype is a true morning person who likes to wake at the crack of dawn, so generally, around 6:00 am. Lions tend to sleep for five full sleep cycles and take around 20 minutes to fall asleep, so a lion who wakes up at 6:00 am would ideally go to bed around 10:10 pm.

Though alert in the morning, lions can be prone to sluggishness come afternoon time. Breus’ suggestion is for lions to get important tasks done in the morning, and to get some light exposure later in the day to maximize the chances of catching a second wind.

The dolphin

Dolphins often have trouble with waking up and falling asleep. According to Breus they usually sleep for four sleep cycles and can take up to 40 minutes to fall asleep and prefer to wake up around 6:30 am. This means that a dolphin’s optimal bedtime is 11:50 pm. Breus also says that dolphins would benefit from keeping a “worry journal” to write in before bed which may help prevent their thoughts from being trapped in their minds.

This type tends to be the most focused and productive during the mid-afternoon and throughout the evening, so it’s best for them to keep their mornings light and to schedule their big responsibilities later in the day. Dolphins may also need to recharge with a power nap or two during the day.

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