You may have heard about a sleep chronotype and thought, what in the world is that? Today’s article explores precisely what a sleep chronotype or profile is, how you discover yours, and other interesting findings.
There are four chronotypes, and they are determined by various factors, including the circadian rhythm, genetics, age and similar physical characteristics. Your circadian rhythm is what we refer to as our’ body clock’, controlling the sleep-wake cycle and the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin, when it approaches bedtime. When you go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, as well as the time of day you’re most productive, determines your sleep chronotype.
Compared to the others, lions are the most likely to be early birds. Most productive in the morning and tired by the evening, lions sleep earlier than other chronotypes. About 15%-20% of the population falls into this category.
The most common chronotype, bears go to sleep and wake up according to the sun. They represent about 50% of the population, being most productive in the mid-morning. They don’t struggle to sleep at night but tend to experience mid-afternoon slumps often.
Do you consider yourself to be a night owl? Then you likely fall into the wolf chronotype, where you go to sleep late and wake up late. As a result, you find it hard to wake up in the morning and are most productive in the afternoon and evening. Generally, wolves make up about 15%-20% of the population.
Dolphins struggle to adhere to regular sleeping patterns as the lightest sleeper of all the chronotypes. They often wake up to slight noises and light and are more likely to be affected by insomnia. This chronotype is named after the dolphin as they alternate which half of the brain is asleep, so they essentially never lose consciousness. Due to this, they typically only take up 10% of the population.
To determine your sleep chronotype, you will need to take a short quiz to better understand your sleep habits. We recommend the Sleep Chronotype Quiz from Puffy.
Scientists have stated it’s near impossible to change your chronotype on purpose. Mainly because the chronotype is reliant on genetic factors and your circadian rhythm. However, it does shift through your life naturally. For example, wolves can become lions as they get older.
If you use a smartwatch, it may well include a function that tracks your sleep. Fitbit consists of a function that matches you with a sleep profile based on your sleep habits each month. They differ slightly from official sleep chronotypes. Here we briefly describe them:
- Bear and dolphin sleep profiles are similar to that of the chronotypes.
- Giraffe: sleeping later and waking earlier than most, they keep to a consistent schedule. Despite sleeping less, the proportions of deep, light and REM sleep are adequate, with fewer disturbances throughout the night.
- Hedgehog: similarly, hedgehogs sleep late and wake early. However, they’re different from giraffes as they take longer to fall asleep, meaning they get less deep and REM sleep. They can get restful sleep, albeit with more disturbances at night.
- Tortoise: falling asleep at different times each night, but typically it is earlier than most sleep profiles. They tend to spend more time in bed due to late wake-up times, but it takes them longer to reach high-quality sleep. Moreover, tortoises may nap more the next day due to prolonged disturbances in the night that cause them to struggle to fall back asleep.
- Parrot: going to bed and waking up regularly each morning and night, parrot sleep profiles get a good amount of sleep and reach quality sleep quickly. They also sleep deeply but can wake up briefly often throughout the night, hindering REM sleep.
Did you find out your sleep chronotype? Whilst it’s biological that some of us wake up frequently at night, there may also be an underlying reason. Maybe your mattress is on its way out, and you aren’t adequately supported throughout the night. Don’t worry – Mattressman has your back. With a mattress for every kind of sleeper and chronotype, you can be sure to find your dream bed in our range.