Your Sleep Animal and How You Should Sleep
Animals in the wild don’t wake up with alarms, stay out late when they’re tired, or binge-watch Netflix before sleep. They follow their unique biological rhythm or internal clock.
Learn how understanding what sleep animal you are and following the instinctual patterns of that animal, will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Sleep Animals and Chronobiology
By studying chronobiology, the study of solar and lunar cycles in living organisms, sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus identified four biological rhythms in humans similar to particular animals. According to Breus, by identifying which sleep animal you are, you can make simple adjustments to your waking and sleep routines that are in harmony with your natural rhythm.
Breus identified four sleep animals—bears, dolphins, lions, and wolves—that people generally identify with. As unique as each animal, each sleep type has particular patterns that determine the schedule of their day and nighttime activities.
Read on to find out which sleep animal you are and how to fine-tune your day to get the best sleep at night.
Which Sleep Animal Are You?
Bears are the most common sleep animal type. They awaken and sleep with the sunrise and sunset and require a full 8 hours of sleep. Real bears hunt and sleep, and not much else. People that identify with the bear sleep animal are social during the day but have a significant need to sleep at night.
The bear’s strongest focus is between 10 am and 12 pm for completing tasks. So, use this window to get work done and opt for socialization later in the afternoon. Bears need to wind down by 10 pm and aim to sleep by 11 pm to get the full night’s sleep they require.
Dolphins are highly intelligent and have the lowest sleep drive of all the sleep animals. Surprisingly, real dolphins sleep with only half of their brains, while the other half remains alert to swim and keep an eye out for predators. People that relate to the dolphin sleep animal are light sleepers or, even, insomniacs.
Dolphins do best when they exercise first thing in the morning, before breakfast. The best times to complete creative and intellectually demanding tasks are between 10 am and 12 pm, and 4 pm and 6 pm. Since dolphins are already mentally stimulated, it’s helpful for them to begin winding down with calming activities like a hot bath or reading, then going to bed no earlier than 11:30 pm.
The king of the jungle wakes up bright and early to hunt, full of energy, but burns out by early evening. The lion sleep animal fits people who love mornings and are passionately driven.
Lions do well with completing necessary tasks and getting organized early while the mind is sharp. It’s best to avoid exercising in the morning to prevent the end of the day burnout. Working out between 5 pm to 7 pm, before dinner, will give lions a boost of energy for the remainder of the day. Lions should turn off electronics and wind down for bed by 10 pm.
The wolf is the most energetic in the evening and the party animal of the bunch as wolves in real life are nocturnal hunters. People with the wolf as their sleep animals are outgoing, like to be out at night, and are most definitely not morning people.
As wolves tend to be groggy in the morning, they do best to avoid waking up too early. Beginning the day with some outdoor exercise will trigger the brain’s signals to stop melatonin production and to wake up. Wolves are most alert between 4 pm and 6 pm, so take this time to do the most important tasks of the day. People who identify with the wolf will feel awake late into the night, so it’s best to avoid mentally stimulating activities by 11 pm. Digitally unplug, do some gentle stretching, or take a hot shower to go to sleep by midnight.
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