How To Thrive As A Wolf Chronotype: Sleep Tips + A Daily Schedule
Of the four main sleep chronotypes, there's one that stands out as the quintessential night person: the wolf. Roughly 15 to 20% of the population falls into this chronotype. If you're one of them, there are a few tips that can help you keep your sleep schedule and energy levels in tiptop shape. Here's how to thrive as a wolf chronotype.
The four sleep chronotypes.
Your sleep chronotype describes your body's biological clock (or circadian rhythm), which influences your energy levels throughout the day.
Most of us fall into one of four chronotypes: lions, bears, wolves, and dolphins. We all know people who are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning, and they tend to be your lions and bears. Wolves and dolphins, on the other hand, tend to have more energy later in the day.
Understanding your chronotype and its needs can help you structure your day in a way that works for your body. It can help inform what time you wake up, go to bed, work out, eat, and take meetings. Here's a quick overview of the four types:
- Lions: Morning people who like to wake up early and are most productive in the morning
- Bears: Sleep schedule is synced with the sun, with most productivity in the morning
- Wolves: Prefer to wake up later in the day, most productive in the afternoon/evening
- Dolphins: Trouble waking up and falling asleep, most productive around midday
Unsure what bucket you fall into? Take this chronotype quiz to find out.
- Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen.
- Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a board-certified sleep specialist and co-author of Energize!
Characteristics of a wolf chronotype.
Just like we picture wolves howling at the moon, people with this chronotype tend to be active at night. As such, they often struggle with waking up early.
As board-certified sleep specialist and co-author of Energize! Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., tells mbg, wolves are the people who need to drag themselves out of bed in the morning and don't start feeling tired until around midnight.
"Wolves are creative, impulsive, and emotionally intense," he says, adding that they love to seek out new experiences and take risks. They have a medium sleep drive, which gives them peaks of productivity in the late morning and again in the late evening.
Unfortunately for wolves, they may find their preference for nighttime isn't conducive to the demands of work or school. "Things like work and school get going too early, and social fun ends too soon [for this type]," Breus explains, noting that wolves are highly susceptible to social jet lag and insufficient sleep.
Wolf chronotype schedule.
Calling all wolves: Here's an ideal 24-hour schedule that will maximize your energy peaks and respect your dips, according to Breus:
- 7 a.m.: Wake up to your first alarm. Drift until your second alarm 20 minutes later. When you get up, quickly write down or voice memo any ideas.
- 7:30 to 8 a.m.: Get dressed, help the kids if applicable.
- 8 a.m.: Have breakfast but no coffee (yet)!
- 8:30 to 9 a.m.: Get out the door and into the sunlight. A short morning walk (even if it's just to the car or train) will help you wake up.
- 9 to 11 a.m.: Use the morning to consolidate and get organized. Your peak hours are yet to come, so prepare yourself now for your productive hours later.
- 11 a.m.: Coffee break, no snack. Carbs will only slow you down.
- 11:15 to 1 p.m.: Knock off all busywork tasks that don't require too much concentration or insight.
- 1 p.m.: Eat a balanced lunch. Your brainpower is sharp right around now. At lunch with colleagues, you'll be impressive and charming.
- 2 to 4 p.m.: Tackle hard tasks that require concentration.
- 4 p.m.: Have a light snack that features protein and healthy carbs.
- 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Connect and interact with others. While their energy is waning, you're wide-awake and alert. Take advantage and attend meetings, make phone calls, and send emails during this time.
- 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Exercise while your body is all warmed up for performance.
- 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Post-workout Happy Hour, predinner social hour with friends, homework hour with kids. You should be up for anything now, so go do it.
- 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Dinner. By delaying your meal until now, you'll resist the urge to eat later on, too close to bedtime. Carbs will help calm you down for sleep.
- 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.: This is when you tend to be in your best mood of the day, so do something fun!
- 11 p.m.: Turn off all screens. Relax, meditate, read, stretch, take a hot bath.
- Midnight: Go to bed.
Tips for thriving as a wolf chronotype.
When to work out:
Wolves will see peak workout performance around 6 p.m., Breus says. By this time, their hand-eye coordination has peaked (until 9 p.m.) as have their fat-burning abilities.
In addition to that, the cortisol-testosterone ratio for wolves reaches its ideal point for resistance training in the late evening from 6 to 7 p.m., and if you happen to be a yogi and a wolf, Breus says you can do yoga three hours after waking and again before dinner or to relax before bed.
When and what to eat:
If you're following the wolf schedule above and waking up at 7 a.m., you'll want to eat breakfast an hour later, around 8 a.m.—without coffee! Don't worry, you can have a cup at 11 a.m., but drinking it too soon can make you jittery.
At 1 p.m., it's time for a balanced lunch, and come 4 p.m., Breus recommends a snack that's around 250 calories, with 25% protein and 75% carbs, to help you power through the rest of the afternoon.
Dinner is best served at 8 p.m. for you. Be sure to include some healthy carbs on your plate to help you to wind down and prevent getting hungry again before bed.
When to have sex:
According to Breus, all of the chronotypes benefit from morning sex, as it gets your day started on an energizing note. In the case of wolves, they also have a good window for sex in the late evening, around 10 p.m.
Of course, you'll also want to consider your sexual partner's chronotype since a bear, for example, will probably prefer earlier than that, while another wolf would be ready to romp as late as 11 p.m.
Optimizing sleep as a wolf chronotype:
Go to bed by midnight.
While you might easily be able to stay up well into the wee hours as a wolf, try to resist the urge and get to bed by midnight, Breus says. By this time, your body is naturally starting to wind down, and you'll be able to get enough sleep without having to sleep in the next day. This brings us to our next point.
Get at least seven hours of sleep.
While there's no magic number, Breus notes that wolves typically perform their best when they're getting around seven hours of sleep. He's found that the average wolf gets through four 90-minute sleep cycles a night and can take 40 minutes to fall asleep (hence why he recommends going to sleep at midnight and waking up at 7 a.m.)
"Getting that much sleep can be tough for wolves because their biological rhythm is so at odds with society's timetable for daily life," he notes.
Take a sleep supplement.
Since it can take a while for wolves to quiet their minds and fall asleep, they may want to consider a sleep supplement like mindbodygreen's sleep suppport+.*
The formula contains highly absorbable and gentle magnesium bisglycinate paired with PharmaGABA®, a neurotransmitter shown in clinical trials to enhance natural sleep quality, as well as jujube, a fruit used in traditional Chinese medicine for calming.*
Wolves can take 2 capsules one to two hours before bedtime to fall asleep faster and wake up more energized.*
Set yourself up for a good night's sleep as soon as you wake up.
According to Breus, if you struggle with grogginess in the morning, you'll want to prioritize hydrating and getting sunlight first thing. This will help keep your biological clock ticking along smoothly. When your body knows when to wake up, it will also know when it's time to hit the hay.
The bottom line.
Having a wolf chronotype isn't always easy, especially in a world that can feel like it's made for early birds. But each chronotype has its strengths, and wolves just happen to be strongest later in the day. When you understand how to make your chronotype work for you, not only will you be more energized and productive, but you'll also sleep better and feel better overall.
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.