Which Of These Four "Sleep Chronotypes" Are You?

Think quick: Are you an early bird or a night owl? According to Masterclass, 40% of people identify as early birds, while 30% are self-proclaimed night owls. But what about the remaining 30% of the population? Is there another kind of sleeper/waker? The short answer is yes, and there's not only one other type but two! Researchers have identified four primary sleep chronotypes. According to the Sleep Foundation, your chronotype refers to your body's natural inclination to go to sleep at a particular time.

Sleep chronotype and circadian rhythm are not the same things but they work together. Circadian rhythm is responsible for responding to sleep cues like darkness and a drop in core body temperature by releasing melatonin. While your circadian rhythm can be trained by sticking to a sleep schedule, your sleep chronotype is genetic (per Sleep Foundation). If your circadian rhythm and chronotype don't sync, then it can impact your ability to be productive throughout the day — hence the science behind why night owls need work flexibility.

The four sleep chronotypes are lion, wolf, bear, and dolphin (per Healthline). Find out which one is yours, and how you can optimize your day based on your chronotype.

Life hacks for early bird and night owl chronotypes

According to Casper, you're a lion (or early bird) if you get up super early and feel sleepy by mid-afternoon. Sleep specialist Michael Breus, Ph.D. says it's good for you to go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. Get the bulk of your work done from 8 a.m. to noon, then focus on lighter tasks until 4 p.m. At that point, it's time to unwind until 9 p.m., which is when you should start your bedtime routine. Breus says to have a snack around 9 a.m. and eat lunch after 12 p.m., according to Health

Mindbodygreen says wolves (or night owls) aren't fond of mornings and don't get sleepy until super late. If this is you, shut down technology at 11 p.m. and be in bed by midnight. Set two alarms: one to wake up at 7 a.m. and another for 7:20 when you'll actually get out of bed. Have breakfast at 8 a.m., and wait until 11 a.m. to have a cup of coffee. Enjoy a balanced lunch a couple of hours later and at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., plan to power through hard tasks. Hit the gym around 6 p.m. and at 8 p.m., have dinner.

Life hacks for bear and dolphin chronotypes

According to Health, you're a bear if you rise and fall with the sun and need a full 8 hours of sleep. Fix My Sleep says the best diet for you is one that focuses on more protein and less carbs. Bears should eat a hearty breakfast, light snack, and have dinner no later than 8 p.m. Your ideal schedule involves waking up at 7 a.m. and handling major projects between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., then prioritizing smaller tasks until the late afternoon. Utilize the evening to relax and get ready for bed at 10 p.m. and by 11 p.m., you should be fast asleep.

Michael Breus, Ph.D. told Fix My Sleep that dolphins make up just roughly 10% of the population. If you struggle with insomnia, then it's likely that you fall into this category. For dolphins, Breus recommends waking up at 6:30 a.m. and focusing on light tasks until mid-morning. From that point until noon, optimize those hours for deep work and focus on slower tasks between noon and the late afternoon. Like the bear, around 10 p.m. is when you want to start unwinding. Turning off your devices and journaling can be especially helpful for your racing mind. Try to be asleep by midnight. In terms of diet, protein and complex carbs are ideal. Limit your caffeine intake and eat dinner in the late evening.