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For the most part, our genetics determine how and when we want to sleep. Our biology is governed by a 24-hour circadian clock that gives us cues about when to sleep, eat, think, and do other activities. Your chronotype is tied to your circadian rhythm. It represents your body’s tendency to want to sleep at a particular time during this 24-hour window.
Different chronotypes feel their “best” and most productive at different times of the day. The population can be divided into early types, late types, and those in the middle. Our chronotypes aren’t fixed and tend to change with age. Children usually have earlier chronotypes, while teenagers often have later chronotypes and require more sleep.
How do I find my chronotype?
The best way to discover your sleep chronotype is to complete the morningness-eveningness questionnaire. BetterSleep has developed a short quiz to help you find yours easily. Your chronotype is associated with one of five sleep animals.
This chronotype is most productive in the morning. They wake up early - some even rise before the sun. Once the sun has set, they become tired and find it difficult to stay awake.
This chronotype is an earlier riser and most productive during daylight hours. Their routines, including when they sleep and rise, tend to follow the sun.
This chronotype is most productive during daylight hours. They usually go to sleep shortly after sunset and wake before sunrise. Chipmunks are the most common chronotype.
This chronotype is most productive in the evening, and may have difficulty waking up early. Foxes are often happy to go to bed at midnight to help fuel their creativity.
This chronotype doesn’t get going until the sun has set, and may also have difficulty waking up early. Owls often prefer to go to bed at midnight, or well past it, as they’re most productive in the evening.
There are things everyone can do to start sleeping better, regardless of your chronotype.
Begin by setting a consistent sleep and wake schedule, getting adequate natural light during the day, nourishing your body with a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. By making the right changes to your routine, you’ll notice improvements in your energy levels, mood, and productivity.