We all know that timing can play a key role in our success and failures.
Doing the "right" things at the right times can help us reach our goals faster while doing the "right" things at the wrong time can be a disaster.
We also probably know people that time their lives very different from ourselves, some people wake up with tonnes of energy and get most of their productive work done before noon, while other don't even start going until the evenings. This is known as a person's chronotype, which is genetic and largely down to different timing of hormones, sleep drive and body temperatures.
While people having different genetic chronotypes has been proven, as you can imagine the classifications and recommendations for each type are largely subjective. I think these subjective recommendations are one of the main reasons, this part of our health isn't viewed as important as it is.
Typically chronotypes have been divided into 2 or 3 categories:
- Morning People
- Night Owls
The latest book I'm reading is called "The Power of When" and written by sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus. He's arranges the chronotypes differently:
Personality: Cautiousness, introversion, neuroticism, intelligence
Behaviours: Avoiding risky situations, striving for perfection, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, fixating on details
Sleep/ Alertness: Dolphins usually wake up feeling unrefreshed and are tired until late in the evening, when they suddenly hit their stride. Most alert: late at night.
Most productive: in spurts throughout the day. Naps: They try to nap to catch up on sleep but can’t quite make it happen.
Personality: Conscientiousness, stability, practicality, optimism
Behaviours: Overachieving, prioritizing health and fitness, seeking positive interactions, strategising
Sleep/ Alertness Pattern: Lions wake up bright-eyed at dawn or earlier, start to feel tired in the late afternoon, and fall asleep easily. Most alert: noon.
Most productive: morning. Naps: Lions hardly ever nap. They’d rather be doing something useful.
Personality: Cautiousness, extroversion, friendly and easy to talk to, open-minded
Behaviours: Avoiding conflict, aspiring to be healthy, prioritizing happiness, taking comfort in the familiar
Sleep/ Alertness : Bears wake up in a daze after hitting the snooze button once or twice, start to feel tired by mid- to late evening, and sleep deeply but not as long as they’d like. Most alert: mid-morning into early afternoon.
Most productive: late morning. Naps: Bears catch extra hours on the weekends, on the couch.
Personality: Impulsivity, pessimism, creativity, moodiness
Behaviours: Taking risks, prioritizing pleasure, seeking novelty, reacting with emotional intensity
Sleep/ Alertness: Wolves have difficulty waking up before 9: 00 a.m. (they do it, but they’re not happy about it), are groggy until midday, and don’t feel tired until midnight or later. Most alert: 7: 00 p.m.
Most productive: late morning and late evening. Naps: Tempting, but if a Wolf sleeps during the day, he won’t fall asleep at night. It’s just not worth it.
You can take the free test yourself and get some basic recommendations, or if you're interested read the book for really detailed information on the best time to do most things: eat, sleep, sex, supplements, exercise, nap and more.
As always while I'm skeptical of most advice these days, I think it's good to approach all self-experiments with an open, unbiased mind as you never know what you might learn in the process.
I'm personally classed as a Bear (but also close to a Lion) and will try out the suggestions in this book and will report back in a few weeks time with my completely unbiased findings. I'm sure I'll learn at least one useful things along the way, which in my eyes is a success.
Let me know your thoughts on this subject.