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From Dusk Till Dawn: Uncovering Your True Sleep Animal. Do You Have a Bear, a Lion, a Wolf or a Dolphin Chronotype?

No this isn't another C.S Lewis book and there are no wardrobes involved in the making of this sleep theory. Instead some simple science, some basic genetics and some mammals of course.  

Sleep, that elusive state where we spend roughly a third of our lives, doesn't come in a one-size-fits-all package. Enter the fascinating world of sleep chronotypes. This concept, which categorizes individuals based on their natural inclinations toward sleep and wakefulness, has its roots in the groundbreaking research of the 1970s by Olov Östberg and James A. Horne.

Their work was later expanded upon by Dr. Michael Breus, who introduced us to the personalized sleep paradigms of Bears, Lions, Wolves, and Dolphins.

Understanding your sleep chronotype isn't just an academic exercise; it's a practical tool for enhancing your well-being, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Each chronotype has unique characteristics and optimal sleep patterns. By aligning our activities with our natural rhythms, we can live more harmoniously within our circadian framework.

The Four Sleep Chronotypes

The Bear

Bears represent the majority, with their sleep-wake patterns closely following the sun. They exhibit peak productivity in the morning and early afternoon, making them well-suited for the traditional 9-to-5 schedule.

For Bears, maintaining a consistent sleep routine and prioritizing good sleep hygiene like minimizing screen time before bed are key strategies for restful nights and energetic days.

Typical Bear Wake: 7 am, Sleep: 11 pm

The Lion

Lions are the morning enthusiasts, waking up with the dawn and attacking their to-do lists with vigor. Their energy wanes by the afternoon, so they're best off tackling challenging tasks early in the day. To support their early-bird tendencies, Lions might benefit from a calming sleep environment.

Putnams' range of ergonomic pillows and mattress toppers can ensure a restful night, preparing Lions for their productive mornings.

Typical Lion Wake: 5:30 am, Sleep: 9:30 pm

The Wolf

Wolves are the night owls, most alive in the evening hours. Their challenge often lies in aligning their nocturnal preferences with societal demands. Wolves can enhance their sleep quality by creating a serene bedtime routine, possibly incorporating relaxation techniques.

The Wolf chronotype is thought to account for 15% of the population. So whilst they are active and alert at night the can sometimes struggle with early starts or morning time in general.

Typical Wolf Wake: 7:30 am, Sleep: 12 am

The Dolphin

Dolphins, often light sleepers and prone to insomnia, find themselves alert at all hours. Their unpredictable sleep patterns call for a focused approach to sleep hygiene, including a quiet, dark sleeping environment and perhaps a pre-sleep ritual involving relaxation and meditation.

The Dolphin chronotype is thought to account for 10% of the population.

Dolphins might explore Putnams' specialised bedding products, designed to foster comfort and tranquility, aiding in smoother transitions to sleep.

Typical Dolphin Wake: 6:30 am, Sleep: 11:30 pm

Can You Change your Sleep Chronotype? 

You cannot change your sleep chronotype by sheer will or immediate actions, as it is deeply ingrained in your genetics and influenced by the length of your PER3 gene.

Your sleep chronotype, which categorizes you as a Lion, Wolf, Bear, or Dolphin, is encoded in your DNA and linked to your genetics, making it a fundamental part of who you are.

While certain life stages, such as childhood, adolescence, and puberty, may see changes in sleep patterns, once you reach your early twenties, your chronotype tends to stabilize.

Does Your Sleep Chronotype Change as you Get Older?

Yes, your sleep chronotype can indeed change as you age.

Generally, most children exhibit early or morning chronotypes, which means they tend to wake up early and go to sleep early—characteristics often associated with the Lion and Bear chronotypes.

However, as they enter adolescence, it's common for their chronotypes to shift towards a later or evening preference, resembling the Wolf and sometimes Dolphin chronotypes.

This shift aligns with the typical observation of teenagers staying up late and struggling to wake up early.

After reaching their early twenties, people's chronotypes begin to transition back towards earlier or morning types. And interestingly, as individuals reach older adulthood, around the age of 65, their chronotypes may shift even more towards an earlier schedule.

These changes reflect the natural evolution of our internal clocks in response to physiological and lifestyle changes over the course of our lives.

Understanding these shifts can dramatically improve how we approach sleep and productivity. For instance, recognizing a transition from a Wolf to a Bear chronotype could lead to adjustments in daily routines to capitalize on peak productivity times.

Additionally, knowing that your chronotype may lean towards that of a Lion as you grow older can help in planning for future changes in sleep habits and lifestyle.

Navigating Your Chronotype

Identifying your sleep chronotype is the first step toward optimizing your daily schedule for enhanced productivity and well-being. By understanding whether you're a Bear, Lion, Wolf, or Dolphin, you can tailor your activities, work, and sleep practices to fit your body's natural predispositions.

Person waking up in bed with a teal headboard

For those looking to further tailor their sleep environment to their chronotype, the Putnams product range offers a variety of sleep aids and ergonomic products. From pillows that cater to specific needs like acid reflux and sleep apnoea, to mattresses and beddings designed for ultimate comfort, Putnams provides solutions to help you harness the power of your sleep chronotype for a better night's rest and a more balanced life.

Discovering your sleep chronotype opens the door to a world of personalized sleep strategies.

Whether you're a Bear, Lion, Wolf, or Dolphin, understanding your unique sleep patterns is the first step toward achieving the restorative sleep that is so crucial for our health and happiness.

Align your lifestyle with your natural rhythms, and watch as your days become more productive, your sleep more satisfying, and your life more balanced.

Don't forget to let us know what you are in the comments section below. 


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