How to decode your sleep chronotype and increase productivity

No matter if you're an early riser or prefer the quiet of the night, understanding your natural circadian preference, also known as your "sleep chronotype," could be crucial for maximizing your daily productivity, as per the insights of an expert in sleep studies.

Do you yearn to be more effective immediately after waking? Are you in awe of individuals who energetically start their day, making significant progress on their daily goals early on? Or do you desire the ability to remain active into the night but often feel too drained to engage in exercise or hobbies after your workday ends?

Here's a bit of encouraging information: whichever situation you identify with, you're certainly not isolated in your experience. Your predisposition could very well be encoded in your DNA.

Dr Michael Breus, a prominent figure in sleep research, explains that our individual biological clocks, associated with our sleep chronotype, dictate our daily rhythms. To boost productivity, the solution may lie in simply recognizing and respecting these inborn inclinations. Fortuitously, Dr Breus has developed a quiz aimed at helping you uncover your sleep chronotype, providing a gateway to align more closely with your body's natural schedule.

The four sleep chronotypes

During his encounters with insomnia patients, Dr Breus discerned distinct variations in their circadian rhythms, which he termed as “circadian rhythm personalities”.

He pointed out that, despite all humans possessing an internal master biological clock, there exists a notable diversity in how these clocks synchronize and function across individuals.

These variations were organized by Dr. Breus into four chronotypes, inspired by animals with analogous sleep tendencies – these are bears, lions, wolves, and dolphins.

While the circadian rhythm acts as the internal timekeeper, signaling when to sleep and wake, the chronotype delineates your natural energy peaks throughout the day, highlighting when you're most likely to excel.

Which chronotype are you?

Bear According to Dr. Breus, individuals whose sleep patterns mirror the sun's rise and set are classified as bears. Bears usually have an easy time falling asleep and find their most efficient periods in the morning. Do you recognize yourself here? This is the most common chronotype, with many maintaining a steady pace of productivity across the workday. Yet, bears need to watch out for the energy dip that often comes after lunchtime.

Lion Those who rise with the sun usually fit the lion chronotype profile. Known for their proactive, type-A personalities, they start their day when dawn breaks. It's during the morning that they're at their most effective, although they tend to experience a decline in vigor as the evening sets in.

WolfThe term "wolves" applies to those traditionally referred to as night owls. Preferring the evening hours, wolves achieve their highest productivity late in the day, often when many others are experiencing a drop in energy.


Those facing challenges with consistent sleep, frequently awakening throughout the night, are likely akin to dolphins. Dolphins tend to ruminate and stress over daily matters, hindering their sleep quality. They often possess high intelligence and a penchant for perfectionism, finding their optimal work window in the late morning to the early afternoon.

Should you endeavor to adopt the habits of a lion, despite your innate tendencies mirroring that of a wolf, you're likely contending with an innate resistance dictated by your genetic makeup.

Take the quiz here to better understand your biological programming and discover which chronotype best fits you.

You can also watch Dr Breus’s Ted Talk here.

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