Life can be a little frustrating when you’re not a morning person. All you want to do is be up and seize the day before you need to grudgingly get ready for work, but it’s the same story every morning: your body gives you one big “nope.”
I know it’s a struggle for me, at least, when I want to get to the gym and make a well-executed breakfast before setting out on my commute, but I’ve since given up setting my alarm that extra hour earlier because I know that no matter how hard I try, I will choose to stay in bed until the last possible moment.
Turns out, there’s a biological reason for this! To an extent, at least, but I’m milking it as much as I can because it makes me feel like less of a useless lump.
Dr. Michael Breus, a psychology and sleep specialist based out of California, is an expert on how to find the right sleep patterns for your body. Also known as the Sleep Doctor, Breus, author of “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype,” explained to Today that understanding how your body reacts to sleep at different times of the day can make you better equipped to get work done throughout the day.
Basically, depending on your biological clock, your body is fit for sleep at varying times of the day. Some people are essentially designed to get up at 5 a.m. and fire off an hour of work before jumping in the shower. (I am not one of those people.)
Everyone falls into a chronotype, Breus purports, or a natural aptitude to fall asleep during a given period of a 24-hour cycle. The chronotypes -- referred to as dolphins, lions, bears and wolves in his book -- can even go so far as to help you determine when you’re best fit to do things like ask for a raise and have your first cup of coffee.
Lions (which account for about 15 to 20 percent of people) should plan their biggest projects for the morning hours and know that by the time evening rolls around, you’re prone to doze and relax with a TV show. These account for the overachievers and those that prioritize health. So, literally a “when the sky’s awake, I’m awake” type of human.
Bears (around 50 percent of people) prioritize happiness and are extroverted, social people whose sleep cycles follow the solar cycle, i.e. they will get their eight hours in whether it’s practical or not. If you’re assuming you’re a bear, though, understand that this may mean hitting the pillow a few hours earlier in the evening.
Wolves are the night owls (15 to 20 percent of people) that have a hard time getting up in the morning and are at their most energetic come nightfall. Those of you that are impulsive and creative -- a lone wolf, if you will -- fall into this chronotype.
Then there are the dolphins (only about 10 percent of people) who experience some type of insomnia. They’re the perfectionists that sleep lightly and are always looking to go, go, go. "They tend to wake up feeling unrefreshed and feeling tired until the late evening when suddenly they feel more alert. They have productivity spurts throughout the day," Breus said.
I'm interpreting this as saying that if you can’t focus on your work in the morning because you’re too tired, it’s not your fault for having that third glass of wine last night and watching YouTube videos until 2 a.m. -- you’re just a wolf and societal norms don’t apply to you!
But regardless, identifying with a chronotype and planning your day around when you know you’re going to be more productive sounds like a train I want to get on.