Your Sleep Type - Identify your Chronotype with Dr. Michael Breus, The Sleep Doctor

By Alterra Pure   |  

Do you know what chronotypes are? 

No, neither did we until we did some research and it turns out that chronotypes are another way of identifying your unique wiring or your natural circadian rhythm, especially when it comes to sleep patters, ie: are you a morning person or night owl.

We learned all about this from incredibly useful information via The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, in his book, The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype


dr michael breus the sleep doctor


According to Dr. Breus, there are 4 Sleep specific chronotypes:

  1. The Lion
  2. The Bear
  3. The Wolf
  4. The Dolphin

It turns out that knowing what your individual chronotype is can be an incredibly useful tool in understanding your individual preferences for sleep.  Additionally, some of us may even be hybrid chronotypes, where you’ll find aspects of more than one type in your profile. However, regardless of where you land on the continuum, we tend to simply live a more productive life when we do so in alignment with our bodies natural, biological preferences.  So the more you know, the more optimal your health and wellness can be.


dr michael breus the sleep doctor chronotypes


“Once you understand the way your body’s biological clock is ticking then you have the key to working with your body instead of against it,” explains Dr. Breus.

If you’re curious about your specific chronotype, you can take this quick and easy quiz  for a much clearer understanding of what kind of “animal” you are and how to best optimize your lifestyle and get your best nights sleep.

 Here’s an overview of the 4 specific chronotypes according to Dr. Breus.


  1. The Lion
Roughly speaking, approximately 15-20% of people are lions. Lions are conscientious, stable and practical animals. People in this category tend to be overachievers and like to prioritize their health and positive interactions with people and experiences.  "They are up at the crack of dawn, full of energy, and doing what they do best," Breus explains in his book. If you're a lion, you would do best to plan your day focused on getting the most done in the early hours.  Whether it’s a workout or responding to emails, you’ll tend to function best and be most productive during the earlier part of the day.  And with that in mind, the Lion does best when saving the least intense activities for the evening hours.
  1. The Bear
The Bear makes up about 50% of population and is therefore the most common chronotype of the 4. “These people tend to avoid conflict and prioritize happiness, Breus said.” Bears like to follow the “normal schedule”, where their sleep/wake patterns tend to match the standards we’ve been programed into through daily societal practices.  9-5 living if you will. They have a tendency towards the average seven or eight hours of sleep, which means it’s important for them to plan to go to bed at a decent time to get in those extra hours of sleep. These are extroverts who like to socialize and they tend to be team players.
  1. The Wolf
These are the self-proclaimed "night owls" and are approximately 15-20% of the population. These people generally have a hard time waking up early and are most energetic in the evenings. They’re often impulsive, pessimistic, creative and moody people who may tend to “march to their own drum.”  Like a wolf, those with the Wolf chronotype are nocturnal. Their energy level is best later in the day. Wolves are most productive at night, so they are best served to save that intense workout for later in the day, early evening, so they can maximize their energy.

  1. The Dolphin
Only 10 percent of people tend to be dolphins.  According to Breus, “these are the people who struggle the most with insomnia.”  They tend to be highly intelligent people who are light sleepers and often perfectionists – but almost to a fault. “They tend to wake up feeling unrefreshed and feeling tired until the late evening when suddenly they feel more alert.  They have productivity spurts throughout the day, “said Breus.


What role do our parents play in our chronotype?

Simply put, your chronotype is part of your genetic identity and since we inherit our genes from our parents it’s no wonder that we share at least one chronotype from our parents.  By observing your parents sleep patterns and energy levels throughout the day, you may gain some insight into your own attributes.


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The only constant is change.

In addition to the role our parents have on our tendency towards a specific chronotype, it’s also important to note that yours will most likely change over the course of your life.  As children, we are mostly Lions, and in adolescence, we are nearly all Wolves.  By the age of 21, we will begin to settle into our core chronotype, which is likely to remain with us until about the age of 65.  At that point, one may transition into the needs of the Lion or Dolphin.  Like life itself, it’s always evolving.

Regardless of your individual chronotype, your sleep and performance will ultimately be influenced by biological and genetic factors as well as circumstantial and environmental ones. 

To learn more visit The Sleep Doctor

And don't forget, it's all connected.  Your mattress, your bed, your room, the temperature . . . everything.  As far as bedding is concerned, some people prefer the unencumbered freedom of percale weave.  At Alterra Pure, we craft heirloom percale for that cool, crisp feel you find only in finer hotels.  We don't make Sateen.  We understand some prefer the soft, cocoon of a sateen, but we focus on percale.  Learn more about our organic cotton percale sheets at


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