Want To Figure Out Your Sleep Chronotype? Here's A Quick Quiz To Find Out
Most of us fall into one of four sleep categories or "chronotypes"—lions, bears, wolves, or dolphins. Each type has different needs when it comes to sleep, from when to go to bed to when to wake up and when to be most productive. Here's a quick quiz to find out which chronotype you are, plus how to optimize it for deeper sleep.
The four sleep chronotypes.
The idea of the four sleep chronotypes, popularized by board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., relates to our body's biological clock (aka circadian rhythm). Our circadian rhythm influences everything from our energy levels throughout the day and into the night to how we should optimize our individual schedules.
Here's a quick overview of lions, bears, wolves, and dolphins:
- Lions: Morning people who like to wake up early and are most productive in the morning
- Bears: People whose sleep schedules are synced with the sun and are most productive in the morning
- Wolves: People who prefer to wake up later in the day and are most productive in the afternoon/evening
- Dolphins: People who have trouble waking up and falling asleep and are most productive around midday
Understanding your personal type can help you figure out how to structure your days, when to go to bed, and so much more. You probably have a sense of which type you might be based on the descriptions above, but here's a quick quiz to find out for sure.
Tips for thriving, based on your chronotype.
When to work out:
- Bears: According to Breus, it's best for bears to work out in the morning or at least before noon. "If they do not exercise before noon, they just can't seem to get motivated to do it," he previously told mbg, adding, "Also if they are struggling with excess weight, I try not to start them on cardio but more weights, which allows them to succeed and continue with the program."
- Lions: Lions have a few optimal exercise windows depending on what kind of workout they want to do, Breus says. Cardio, for example, should be done around 5:30 p.m. Team sports, on the other hand, are best between 2 and 4 p.m. More mindful options like yoga or walking would be good at 8 a.m. or 5 p.m., and strength training is best from 2:30 to 5 p.m.
- Wolves: Breus says wolves will see peak workout performance around 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., while their hand-eye coordination and fat-burning abilities are strongest. Resistance training is best from 6 to 7 p.m., while things like yoga can be done three hours after waking and/or before dinner or to unwind before bed.
- Dolphins: Dolphins benefit from working out soon after waking up to help them shake any sleep inertia they're likely experiencing, particularly doing challenging workouts. Quick midday workouts are also helpful to fend off any fatigue, and more relaxing exercises before bed can help them start to unwind.
When (+ what) to eat:
- Bears: For bears, Breus recommends a high-protein, low-carb breakfast around 7:30 to 8 in the morning. Hold off on coffee until at least 10 a.m., and have a medium-sized lunch at noon. Around 4 p.m., reach for a ~250-calorie snack with 25% protein and 75% carbs. Enjoy a light but filling dinner around 7:30 p.m.
- Lions: Fuel up with a protein-rich breakfast first thing at 5:45 a.m., then around 9 a.m., you'll want a light snack, Breus says. Aim to eat a balanced lunch between noon and 1 p.m., and for dinner, keep it light and eat between 6 and 7 p.m.
- Wolves: Enjoy your breakfast roughly an hour after you wake up (preferably around 8 a.m. if you're following the wolf's ideal wake time of 7 a.m.), and don't drink coffee until 11 a.m. Around 1 p.m., have a balanced lunch, and then a ~250-calorie snack around 4 p.m. with 25% protein and 75% carbs. Dinner at 8 p.m. with a good dose of healthy carbs will help you get sleepy before bed.
- Dolphins: Have your breakfast around an hour after you wake up (ideally 7:30 a.m. if you're waking at the dolphin's optimal time of 6:30 a.m.), and make it protein-rich with healthy carbs. Feel free to enjoy a cup of coffee, but sip slowly and cut it off early in the afternoon to avoid sleep issues later on. Have a light but filling lunch around noon and a ~250-calorie snack between 4 and 5 p.m. Dolphins can get away with a later dinner, around 8:30 to 9 p.m., and it should have a good amount of carbs to help you wind down before bed.
When to have sex:
The question of when to have sex based on your chronotype, of course, also involves your partner's chronotype. Here are the best times for every type combo:
- Female dolphin & male dolphin: 8 p.m., 8 a.m.
- Female dolphin & male lion: 8 p.m., 7 a.m.
- Female dolphin & male bear: 10 p.m., 8 a.m.
- Female dolphin & male wolf: 8 p.m., 9 a.m.
- Female lion & male dolphin: 7 p.m., 7 a.m.
- Female lion & male lion: 6 p.m., 6 a.m.
- Female lion & male bear: 8 p.m., 7 a.m.
- Female lion & male wolf: 7 p.m., 8 a.m.
- Female bear & male dolphin: 8 p.m., 7:30 a.m.
- Female bear & male lion: 9 p.m., 7:30 a.m.
- Female bear & male bear: 10 p.m., 7:30 a.m.
- Female bear & male wolf: 10:30 p.m., 8 a.m.
- Female wolf & male dolphin: 9 p.m., 9 a.m.
- Female wolf & male lion: 9 p.m., 9 a.m.
- Female wolf & male bear: 10 p.m., 9 a.m.
- Female wolf & male wolf: 11 p.m.
Female gay couples:
- Dolphin & dolphin: 8 p.m.
- Dolphin & lion: 8 p.m., 8 a.m.
- Dolphin & bear: 9 p.m.
- Dolphin & wolf: 10 p.m.
- Lion & lion: 6 p.m., 6 a.m.
- Lion & bear: 9 p.m., 7 a.m.
- Lion & wolf: 9 p.m., 9 a.m.
- Bear & bear: 7:30 p.m.
- Bear & wolf: 10 p.m.
- Wolf & wolf: 11 p.m.
Male gay couples:
- Dolphin & dolphin: 8 a.m., 8 p.m.
- Dolphin & lion: 7 a.m., 8 p.m.
- Dolphin & bear: 8 a.m., 10 p.m.
- Dolphin & wolf: 9 a.m., 10 p.m.
- Lion & lion: 6 a.m., 6 p.m.
- Lion & bear: 7 a.m., 9 p.m.
- Lion & wolf: 9 a.m., 9 p.m.
- Bear & bear: 7:30 a.m., 10 p.m.
- Bear & wolf: 10 a.m., 10 p.m.
- Wolf & wolf: 11 a.m., 11 p.m.
Optimizing sleep based on your chronotype.
Lucky for bears, they don't typically report too many sleep difficulties. You can stay on top of your sleep hygiene, according to Breus, by following a consistent sleep schedule, exercising in the morning, and familiarizing yourself with the optimal daily schedule for bears.
Here's our full guide to thriving as a bear for more inspiration.
Similar to bears, lions also don't typically have challenges in the sleep department. As such, Breus' advice is essentially the same: Keep your sleep schedule consistent and follow the optimal daily schedule for lions.
Check out our complete guide to thriving as a lion for more information.
Wolves have it a bit trickier than lions and bears, often staying up late and struggling to wake up in the morning. Breus suggests making sure you go to bed around midnight and get seven hours of sleep, which seems to be the optimal amount for wolves, in his experience.
He also emphasizes the importance of light exposure and getting hydrated first thing to help your body and mind wake up, should you be experiencing grogginess. Like all chronotypes, wolves may also benefit from a high-quality sleep supplement.*
Here's our guide to thriving as a wolf for more tips.
Dolphins undoubtedly have it the hardest when it comes to optimizing sleep, but luckily, Breus has some tips. For one thing, like the other types, you'll want to follow the dolphin's ideal schedule, which involves falling asleep around 12:30 a.m. (after plenty of time to wind down) and waking up at 6:30 a.m.
He also recommends keeping a "worry journal" so you can get any troublesome thoughts out of your head before bed, and taking afternoon power naps if you hit the dreaded 3 p.m. slump.
Here's our guide to thriving as a dolphin for more information.
No matter your chronotype, we all need consistent and quality rest to feel our best and stay healthy. By understanding your specific type, you can not only structure your days more efficiently but improve your sleep as well.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.