Sleeping patterns differ from person to person. Do you feel sleepy in the afternoon? Do you feel problematic about going to late-night parties? It's because of your chronotype. What is a chronotype?
The meaning of "chronotype" is either you are a morning person or a night owl, which is your body's natural tendency to sleep and wake up at different times. Chronotype assists in various body functions as well. Therefore, knowing your chronotype will improve your productivity and sleep quality.
Keep reading to learn more about chronotypes, types of chronotypes, how to identify your chronotype, and their benefits.
What Is a Chronotype
Chronotype, often known as being a morning lark or a night owl, is your body's innate propensity to sleep at a specific time of day. It controls sleep patterns and specifies when people are most alert and productive. Several physiological processes, including hormone levels, appetite, exercise, and core temperature, are influenced by your chronotype. Your sleep chronotype affects everything you do daily and makes you most productive at your peak times.
Circadian Rhythms vs. Chronotypes
There is a strong connection between your sleep chronotype and circadian rhythm. For the reason that your circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycles and promotes your body to secrete melatonin in response to external factors like light and temperature. If you stick to a rigid schedule, you can train your circadian rhythm to follow a new schedule and habit.
Your PER3 gene (together with other genes) determines your chronotype, which also depends on genetic, environmental, and aging-related variables. Therefore, it is difficult, or we can say impossible, to purposely change your chronotype. Even if you try to go against your chronotype, you will start feeling permanently tired, develop body fatigue, and have other health issues.
Thus, you should examine, "What is my chronotype?". It is necessary to maintain productivity and keep working at your top efficiency. The good news is that your chronotype transforms with age.
How Do Chronotypes Work
As mentioned above, the PER3 gene (among other additional genes) influences your chronotype, affecting your sleep habits and productivity. Normally, melatonin production begins in the evening and ends in the morning. But your chronotype can affect the production of melatonin in your body. For instance, the body of an early riser will begin producing melatonin in the afternoon, causing a drop in productivity. Whereas in the case of a night owl, it may go beyond the evening to start producing melatonin.
Forcing someone with a later chronotype to wake up early for work or school will lead them to experience body fatigue and suffer from social jetlag. When a person's individual chronotype goes against the demands of their daily work schedule, this is known as "social jetlag."
Types of Chronotypes
People are usually familiar with the two most common chronotypes: early riser and night owl. However, there are four distinct chronotypes, with a few others falling in the middle. In order to further emphasize the idea that some people are motivated in some ways in the morning and in other ways in the evening, scientists have recently introduced another category of "bimodal."
Below is the detail and characteristics of four different chronotypes:
The habits of those with a lion chronotype are very similar to the age-old adage, "Early to bed and early to rise." Such people are early risers, and their productivity is at its peak in the morning. Everything runs smoothly until midday, when they feel fatigued and lose productivity. They need help keeping up with a social calendar full of late-night gatherings, parties, and events. These individuals are charismatic, extroverts, and born leaders (much like lions).
The bear chronotype usually follows the solar cycle. According to Dr. Brues, it is the most common, with 55% of the population having a bear chronotype. They often rise at regular working hours and feel no trouble juggling their schedules and social events in the evening. They occasionally experience afternoon fatigue that lasts for 2-3 hours and then goes away. They are outgoing, cheerful, and a never-ending source of energy. They go to bed around 11 PM and get up at 7 or 8 AM.
The wolf chronotype describes the night owls who feel productive and alert only after lunch or midday. It is believed that 15% of the population is of wolf chronotype. Such people love to sleep late at night and have a significant boost of creativity in the afternoon and around 6 P.M. These individuals are risk-takers, creative, and introspective by nature.
The dolphin chronotype, similar to its species name, stays alert even during sleep at night. They often struggle to get enough sleep at night due to disturbing factors like light, sound, etc. Human dolphins are known as insomniacs. They are highly intelligent, great observers, funny, and non-risk-takers. According to Dr. Brues, they make up only 10% of the total population.
How Do You Tell Your Chronotype
Chronotype affects your sleeping schedule and ability to work; therefore, knowing it is essential. Are you thinking about "What is my chronotype?" and how to know about it? To know your chronotype, there are two popular tests. They are the Morning-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) and the Munich ChronoType Questionnaire (MCTQ). Olov Ostberg and JA Horne created the MEQ, which consists of 19 questions. Till Roenneberg created the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire (MCTQ) as a self-evaluation test in 2000.
Both questionnaires are entirely different from each other and have different ways of determining your chronotype. Know your chronotype based on the chronotype test and schedule your daily activities in accordance with it for better sleep quality and enhanced productivity.
Benefits of Knowing Your Chronotype
The benefits of knowing your chronotype are as follows:
Improving Your Sleep
Social jetlag affects people whose daily schedules don't match their chronotype. This will make them permanently tired and is an invitation to health issues. Understanding your chronotype will increase both your productivity and sleep quality.
Boosting Your Productivity
Studies show that when people get timely and quality sleep, it increases their productivity. Also, peak cognitive performance varies from person to person based on their chronotype.
Supporting a Healthier Lifestyle
Your chronotype affects everything in your body, including hormone levels, appetite, exercise, and body temperature. Therefore, working and performing activities according to your chronotype will benefit you and lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Using Your Chronotype to Get Better Sleep
After identifying your chronotype with the chronotype test, you can become more productive and sleep peacefully according to your daily schedule. For example, if you're a wolf, then you must perform mind-intensive tasks in the afternoon with greater productivity. Similarly, if you are a lion, try to schedule your important tasks and meetings before lunch.
Because working against your natural wiring and biological clock will impact both your performance as well as health.
Finding the answer to "What is my chronotype?" and working in accordance with it is beneficial for you in all aspects. Chronotype reflects your sleeping patterns and behaviors and plays a major role in bodily functions. Therefore, take advantage of the chronotype test and boost your productivity.