How to Find Your Sleep Chronotype to Sleep And Live Better

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What if I told you that if you learned a certain secret, you would automatically sleep deeper, wake up more refreshed, and have more energy for your daily activities?

The key is to recognize your sleep chronotype.

As Australia's premier sleep expert, I wrote a book about it called Bear, Lion, or Wolf: How Understanding Your Sleep Type Can Change Your Life. It would be my pleasure to educate you about your chronotype so that you can sleep, feel, and live better.

What Is a Sleep Chronotype?

Sleep chronotypes, or your chronotype, while sounding complicated, are actually quite simple. It's a classification system for your circadian rhythm, which might be early, middle, or late:

  • – Those who have an early circadian phase want to wake up and go to bed early (Lions).
    – Those with a mid-phase want to wake and sleep at the same time (Bears).
    – Those with a late phase, as you may have predicted, prefer to wake up and sleep late (Wolves).

However, your sleep chronotype recognizes much more than your regular sleep-wake patterns. Rather, it identifies peak hours of mental and physical productivity; your sleep requirements, common sleep saboteurs, ideal sleep tactics, and even personality factors.

As a result, below is a more complete outline of the three chronotypes from my book:


  • Ideal sleep time: earliest – 10pm and 6am
  • Sleep needs: lowest – 7 hours usually is sufficient
  • Peak productivity period: earliest – 8am until 12pm
  • Greatest sleep challenge: going to bed early enough and anxiety, which leads to light, un-refreshing sleep
  • Greatest sleep strength: your drive to operate at 100% in work and play – usually resulting in practices that incidentally improve sleep, such as consistent exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Key personality traits: leadership, proactivity, positivity, health orientated and routine based
  • The portion of the population: 25%


  • Ideal sleep time: 10.30pm and 7am
  • Sleep needs: highest – 8-9 hours of deep, high-quality sleep
  • Peak productivity period: 10am until 2pm
  • Greatest sleep challenge: switching off screens in the evening
  • Greatest sleep strength: as you hate to let others down, if you have a coach or accountability partner working with you on your sleep goals, you will deliver
  • Key personality traits: reliable, humble, down to earth, hardworking, operates best in a partnership or team
  • The portion of the population: 50%


  • Ideal sleep time: latest – 12am and 8am (if possible)
  • Sleep needs: medium – 7-9 hours, however, this is often not achieved due to their late sleep time
  • Peak productivity period: latest – afternoon if necessary, however, most wolves do their best work after dark, as in between 7-11pm.
  • Greatest sleep challenge: your inherent circadian delay, which means you are simply not tired in the evening, and instead, eager to socialize, which often leaves you sleep-deprived and sleeping in the next morning.
  • Greatest sleep strength: adaptability for evening work – it is when you thrive, after all! Comparatively, Bears and Lions find this near impossible.
  • Key personality traits: unique, creative, risk-taking, fun-loving, social
  • The portion of the population: 25%

How Knowing Your Sleep Chronotype Helps You Sleep And Live Better

Greater quality sleep equals a greater quality living experience, period.

Consider the last time you awoke feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to take on the day. Imagine being able to reproduce this experience with a precise set of behaviors on demand. That is exactly what may and will happen if you follow this advice.

Here are a few other ways that knowing your sleep chronotype can help you sleep better:

1. You know when and how long you should sleep each night

After determining your sleep chronotype, you should adjust your sleep time and length accordingly. Because this timing corresponds to your peak melatonin levels - the master hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep - your sleep is likely to improve - think falling asleep faster and waking up less frequently during the night.

2. Reduced bedtime anxiety – less laying awake in bed staring at the ceiling

Bedtime anxiety is the experience of going to bed, lying awake, and being unable to sleep - which can occur when you go to bed at a time that is not in sync with your circadian rhythm, or when your melatonin levels are too low. As a result, while it is commonly stated that 10 p.m. is an ideal bedtime, this only applies to Lions. Bears and Wolves, on the other hand, should go to bed a little later, as this respects your melatonin peak and reduces the chance of bedtime anxiety.

3. You can take stock of your commonplace sleep saboteurs – before they lead to sleepless nights

While there are general rules for healthy sleep, such as avoiding screens an hour before bed and ingesting caffeine no later than 12 p.m., each chronotype has sleep saboteurs that are more likely to occur for them than others.

Lions, for example, have a proclivity for anxiety and must be very proactive in their anti-anxiety practices, such as meditation and exercise.

Bears, on the other hand, have a tendency to spend too much time on the couch in the evening, usually in front of the TV.

Finally, Wolves, who have the most energy in the evening and the least in the morning, should avoid sleeping in - while tempting, it just exacerbates your circadian phase delay and makes it more difficult to sleep at a suitable time that night.

While these issues face us all, regardless of chronotype, it's crucial to recognize that your sleep type predicts which ones are most relevant to you - so you can be aware and take stock before they occur.

How to Find Your Chronotype

Check out my bio for a link to the chronotype quiz on my website, which duplicates the quiz in my book, for the most dependable response. However, if you want to get an understanding right now while reading this post (I understand, time is valuable), then answer these five crucial questions.

My ideal bedtime, in comparison to others, is:
A - previously
B - at times earlier, at times later
C - in the future

How alert am I in the first hour upon waking?

A - a lot - that's when I do my finest work.
B - I'm awake enough to realize I need coffee right now!
C - not at all aware, and could easily go back asleep

When is my peak productivity?

  • A – before lunch
  • B – between 10 and 2
  • C – in the evening
  • If I had a choice, when would I get up?
  • A – around 6am
  • B – 7 or 8am
  • C – after 8am

Chronotype FAQs


Yes, hybrids occur, as do individuals who are on the cusp of two species, such as those who are close to the cut-off for Lions and Bears.

Similarly, it is critical to understand that chronotypes reflect our innate inclinations - which do not always manifest in reality.

Third, we only exhibit 80% of our chronotype qualities, thus you may identify with the traits of another sleep type. As a result, such considerations must be taken while determining the validity of your chronotype.


Dr Michael Breus[1], a fellow leading sleep expert, identified the dolphin chronotype based on his clinical practice with insomniac patients - meaning they have a haphazard sleep schedule, typically struggle to sleep, and suffer the consequences - depression, anxiety, burnout, compromised cognitive capacity, and memory loss.

My chronotype categories, on the other hand, are derived from the MEQ scale, a widely used psychometric exam that categorizes people into groups based on their morning and evening preferences.


A 2017 study from the University of Michigan Medical School[2] discovered that genetics, such as the PER1, 2, and 3 genes, and the (aptly called) CLOCK genes, account for 50% of your sleep personality. Endogenous (external) variables such as blue light, stress, nutrition, and lifestyle determine the other half of your chronotype.


Your circadian rhythm is any 24-hour internal clock, the most widely mentioned being your sleep-wake clock. Your chronotype, on the other hand, is a classification system for your sleep-wake cycle that is divided into Bears, Lions, and Wolves.

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