When You Should Eat, Sleep, Have Sex, and More Based on Your Chronotype
Are you an early bird or a night owl? We have a tendency to put ourselves into one of those two categories, but there are actually four. Your chronotype refers to your body's natural sleep pattern. It involves what time your body wants to sleep, what time it wakes up without an alarm, when you're most productive, and even your diet and exercise habits. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. is widely credited for putting chronotypes on the map. According to his book, The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype — and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More, knowing yours can have a big impact on your overall self-care experience.
The 4 Chronotypes
The four chronotypes are lion, bear, wolf, and dolphin. While it's not uncommon to sometimes be a hybrid of two chronotypes, your most natural inclination will lean towards just one. Read on to learn more about each chronotype and take the quiz here.
The Lion Chronotype
According to Breus, lions are the early birds of the group and account for about 15% of the population. Lions wake up around 6 in the morning and are in bed by 10 that night. They're most productive between 8 am and noon. Lions are known for their poise and leadership skills, but they may find it difficult to maintain a social life as they have a hard time knowing when to call it quits for the day. Lions also find it difficult to make self-care a priority.
When lion chronotypes should eat
Lions should eat a high-protein, low-carb breakfast 15 minutes after they wake up. They can enjoy a small snack about three hours after breakfast and a balanced lunch three hours after having a snack. A light dinner six hours after lunch is ideal for the lion and it's recommended that they cut off alcohol no more than an hour and a half after dinner.
When lion chronotypes should have sex and exercise
MindBodyGreen suggests lions have sex an hour after waking up. They also say to get in some strength training between 2 and 5 in the afternoon followed by cardio around 5:30.
The Bear Chronotype
Breus says that nearly half of people are bears. They wake up around 7 am and go to bed at 11 pm. Bears are most productive between 10 am and 2 pm. Their energy levels sync with sunrise and sunset and they're the most extroverted chronotype. It's best for them to prioritize meetings in the morning and wrap up by late afternoon.
When bear chronotypes should eat
Breakfast for the bear is the biggest meal of the day. It's best enjoyed about 30 minutes to an hour after waking up and should consist of high-protein, low-carb foods — but no caffeine just yet. Save that cup of coffee for three hours after waking up. Lunch at noon is ideal. It should be smaller than breakfast, but bigger than dinner. Around 4 pm, bears can have a snack that's roughly 3/4 carb and 1/4 protein. Dinner, the smallest meal of the day, should be eaten three hours after their snack.
When bear chronotypes should have sex and exercise
If you're a bear, sex or exercise should happen right after you wake up, but before you eat breakfast or between snack and dinner time.
The Wolf Chronotype
Wolves are the night owl chronotype. About 15% of people are wolves. They tend to wake up around 7:30 am, a little after the bear chronotype, but go to sleep closer to midnight. Wolves are most productive in the evening between 5 pm and 12 am. They're likely to be introverted and are very creative people.
When wolf chronotypes should eat
Wolves should eat breakfast an hour after waking up and, also like bears, should avoid caffeine first thing in the morning. Have a coffee break about four hours after breakfast, but no snack. Carbs can make wolves feel fatigued or sluggish. Enjoy a balanced lunch around 1 pm or a couple of hours after your coffee break and eat a snack three hours later that has a good mix of protein and healthy carbs. Have dinner later in the evening, around 8 or 9.
When wolf chronotypes should have sex and exercise
Sex for the wolf is best in the morning or late at night after 10. Exercise between snack and dinner, around 6 pm.
The Dolphin Chronotype
If wolves are night owls, dolphins are insomniacs. Either that or they're wolves with a bit of anxiety. Only about 10% of the population falls in the dolphin chronotype category. When they do sleep, they're out by 11:30 pm and up by 6:30 am. Peak productivity for the dolphin is between 3 pm and 9 pm. Dolphins are smart, creative, perfectionists, and a bit scatterbrained. They need to prioritize rest and relaxation in order to recharge.
When dolphin chronotypes should eat
Intermittent fasting syncs well with a dolphin's diet. This chronotype should avoid sugar and processed foods in favor of high-proteins and complex carbs. Coffee should be kept to a minimum because it can make a dolphin more anxious. Opt for green tea instead. Lunch at noon and dinner around 9 pm is ideal.
When dolphin chronotypes should have sex and exercise
Dolphin chronotypes should get in a sweat sesh as soon as they wake up before they eat breakfast.