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You’ve probably heard people describe themself as an “Early Bird” or “Night Owl” before. But this binary definition of our wake/sleep preferences doesn’t really cut it.
Not that long ago, humans lived in tribes and needed to be constantly vigilant about safety from predators. We slept in shifts so that someone was always awake to keep watch. This led groups of us to evolve differently regarding when we went to sleep and when we were most alert and productive.
This has always been fairly evident to us by simply observing that some people preferred to go to bed early while others enjoyed staying up late. But research started by Professor Olov Östberg in the 1970s and expanded by Dr. Michael Breus in the 2010s reveals a bit more segmentation in how this impacted our evolution.
There are actually 4 Sleep Chronotypes that have been identified — sorta makes sense when you think about our ancestors splitting the observable 24-hour cycle into 8-hour shifts.
Unfortunately, our modern, work-focused society doesn’t do a great job of catering to this “ancient genetic coding,” and for those that fall out of the traditional rhythm of the 8-5 lifestyle, it can wreak havoc on our health.
Discovering your natural Sleep Chronotype can help you identify when your body begins preparing for sleep, when your focus peaks, and when you might feel your most creative or benefit most from a cup of coffee.
It’s not meant to be a rigid rulebook but rather a gentle guideline that can help you understand your body a bit more. Don’t feel like the results mean you need a complete life overhaul, but instead, try making small shifts that will help you align with your chronotype. The video below will walk you through the information + a short quiz to discover your chronotype, or you can also scroll below to work through it.
To determine your chronotype, you can answer these 6 questions:
Without an alarm, when do you normally get up?
A. Before sunrise
B. With the sun
C. Late morning
D. It varies
When are you ready to go to bed?
A. I turn in early
B. Whenever the sun sets
C. I stay up late
D. Always ready
When do you feel most productive during the day?
A. Morning hours
B. Mid-morning to early afternoon
C. Mid-day until evening
D. Burst of energy in the evening
How hard is it to get going in the morning?
A. No issues
B. Not too bad, but I’m slow to get going
C. Difficult because I feel like I’m off-schedule
D. Herculean because I frequently wake during the night.
When do you feel an energy slump during the day?
A. Early evening
C. Late evening
D. I always feel tired because of frequent sleep interruptions
You describe yourself as:
A. Practical, organized leader
B. Open-minded, friendly people person
C. Impulsive creative type
D. Introspective, detail-oriented introvert
You’ll score it by adding up your answers to see if you have mostly As, Bs, Cs, or Ds. You can then locate the corresponding card below to learn more about your chronotype. I selected some of the information that I find most interesting, but you might also find it helpful to Google your chronotype to discover more.
Be sure to check out my upcoming group course, Thyme Transformation. The next session begins November 28th, 2022, and will teach you a 4-part framework to achieve sustainable productivity, alleviate digital overwhelm, and avoid burnout.
Holistic, sustainable planners designed to help you align work + wellness.