Ever wondered why, even when you’ve had your full 8 hours of sleep, you simply can’t prise yourself from the comfort of your bed in the morning, when your partner is fully awake and alert first thing, but begins to drift off into slumber come early evening? Well, the key to this question may lie in learning what your ‘ sleep animal ‘ is; according to Sleep Doctor, Dr Michael Breus, once you know yours, you can better understand your health, wellbeing and productivity.
In his book ‘The Power of When‘, Dr Breus categorises individuals into four chronotypes (internal body clock cycles) which include the bear, dolphin, wolf and lion. He suggests that knowing your chronotype is important as it turns out that our biological clocks run on different schedules, which is why some people live for the early morning workout, but others would rather sleep in until a more socially acceptable hour!
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Dr Breus has formulated a diagnostic quiz to determine which sleep animal you are. Your chronotype will tell you what time of day is best for your creativity and when you should ideally eat, sleep and exercise to get the best result. It claims to show you how to work with your body and reach your potential.
Based on this quiz, The French Bedroom Company have put together a flowchart to help you determine your sleep animal and start the journey to better optimising your life, check it out below!
You’re a Dolphin!
You’re part of just 10% of the sleep animal population who class themselves as ‘Dolphins’.
Real dolphins sleep with just half of their brain at a time, keeping the other half awake so they can swim and keep an eye out for predators. That’s why the dolphin chronotype is usually associated with those who suffer from insomnia or who have a low sleep drive.
They’re highly intelligent perfectionists who may often be stressed and anxious. At work, they’re fiercely independent and excel at problem-solving. They don’t typically have a high affinity with food, usually being “eat-to-live types with a naturally fast metabolism,” Dr. Breus explains.
Dolphin sleepers love to exercise and have a low BMI due to their high metabolisms, so they should wake up early and do their exercise in the morning, though they rarely wake up feeling fully rested. When the evening comes, however, they may suddenly experience a burst of energy.
Dolphins should hit the hay later than most, practicing yoga or meditation for relaxation to avoid that awful feeling of lying in bed without being able to drift off to sleep. Dr Breus says that dolphins should get their heads down at around 11.30pm.
You’re a Bear!
Bears are the most common chronotypes; about 50% of the population identify as ‘Bears’. They base their sleep schedules on the sun in the wild, so you would typically sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light, sometimes relying on sunlight to get out of bed in the mornings.
“Bears like to get their seven to eight hours, but they’ll hit snooze a few times in the morning,” Dr Breus explains, taking on their trickiest tasks between 10am and 12pm. They should also take a nap in the afternoon, although this might not be acceptable if you’re working a 9-5 shift!
According to Dr. Breus, a bear is an outgoing, “team-player.” Their people skills are on-point, so they make great managers. Just like Winnie the Pooh—the most accurate cartoon portrayal of all bears—they like to graze for food throughout the day (with to-go honey pots and other snacks), and they often have an average to high BMI.
When it comes to their exercise tendencies, they may or may not be committed to sweat gains, notes the doctor, though if they are, it should be in the evening before dinner, going to bed around 11pm.
You’re a Lion!
You’ve joined around 15%-20% of the population as a ‘lion’. Lion sleep animal are early risers and are full of energy in the morning, raring to take on the day, but they run out of steam when early evening rolls around.
Those in the lion category should wake early (around 5.30am); “they’re optimistic goal-setters and get-it-done people,” says Dr. Breus. He adds that they’re also leaders with analytical minds. They often take on leadership positions, but they don’t take risks.
Your friend who never stops talking about CrossFit or their upcoming ultra-marathon is probably a lion. They should be getting their exercise in around 5pm before their energy reaches a lull, then get an early night, hitting the sack between 10 and 10.30pm.
These individuals love conquering challenges fit for predators, which is handy because they’re mindful of watching their indulgences. Instead, they’re on the prowl for protein, fiber, fruits, and veggies.
You’re a Wolf!
Not a morning person, but thrive in the evening? You, along with 15%-20% of the population, could well be a wolf.
Wolves usually get up between 7 and 7.30am, after staying up late the night before, using two alarms to break the surface of sleep.
“Although they’re never hungry in the morning, they become ravenous after dark,” says the sleep expert. They like to snack until the wee hours of the morning. People in the wolf category should do any creative work during the afternoon and eat their evening meal later than the other three animals, around 8 o’clock.
People describe wolves as fearless, Dr. Breus explains. They view the world through an intuitive lens and they’re totally fine with being awake when most people are deep in their dreams. Risky situations are where they feel most at home, so they’ll often act on impulse. You’ll find them working in creative fields like the arts.
Regardless of what your sleep animal is, you still need a good night’s sleep! Check out The French Bedroom Company’s beautiful range of luxury beds and bedding to ensure you get perfect slumber every night.