By Rafael Robledo
I recently started reading The Power of When by Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist, also known as the “sleep doctor” who is part of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a diplomat of the American Board of Sleep, and I was intrigued by the concept of keeping good biotime. Through the words of Dr. Breus, “If you are out of sync with your inner timing you are working against your own biology, when has that ever been a good idea..”. So far I’ve felt off with my scheduling so I sought out a solution and while reading this book, I know that I will try to implement some of these strategies.
What I learned at first, was that there are four different chronotypes. A chronotype is the circadian rhythm of a person’s propensity for sleep in a 24-hour cycle. The four chronotypes are known as the dolphin, lion, wolf and bear. Each chronotype has its own different circadian rhythm as well as their own advantages and disadvantages. I recommend taking the quiz to determine your chronotype here. I will be describing each chronotype with the information written by Dr. Breus and give some tips as to when to do various daily tasks.
Lions are the early risers. Four of the main personalities they have include conscientiousness, stability, practicality and optimism. Conscientiousness means that one does things according to their inner sense of what is right. Stability means that they seek firmness in position. Practicality refers to being able to adapt to your environment. Optimism is the tendency to look on the bright side of events or conditions. Lions, according to Breuss, are “Overachieving, prioritizing health and fitness, seeking positive interactions, strategizing” (Page 24). An overall description of Lions would be that they wake up early in the morning and start to feel tired in the afternoon whilst being productive in the morning and are alert at noon.
Dolphins are people who generally have productivity spurts throughout the day and are most alert at night. Breus mentions that Dolphins are usually, “Avoiding risky situations, striving for perfection, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, fixating on details” (Page 24). Four of the personalities that can be attributed are cautiousness, introversion, neuroticism and intelligence. Introversion refers to when a person tries to avoid large crowds and feels more energized by being alone. Neuroticism means that the person has more depressed moods and suffers from feelings of guilt, envy, anger and anxiety.
Bears are people who are more productive in the late mornings and late evenings and are alert in the afternoon. Breus describes a bear’s behavior as “Avoiding conflict, aspiring to be healthy, prioritizing happiness, taking comfort in the familiar” (Page 24). The personalities that resonate in Bears are usually cautiousness, extroversion, friendly and open minded. Being an extrovert refers to someone who gets more energized by being with people. By being open minded one is not afraid to have a discussion and seeing the perspective of others in order to come to a compromise or agreement.
Lastly, wolves are people who are the most productive during the late mornings and late evenings and are alert at night. Breus goes on to describe people who classify as a wolf as “ Taking risks, prioritizing pleasure, seeking novelty, reacting with emotional intensity” (Page 24). Some of their personality traits that a wolf might have are pessimism, creativity, impulsivity and moodiness. Pessimism refers to having the perspective of the worst outcome in a possible scenario. Impulsivity refers to someone who acts without thinking much of it, kind of a reaction that is second nature to the person. Moodiness is the quality of changing moods suddenly in a person.
Some of the personal traits or personalities that are in the chronotypes might not be positive but the reason that one might feel that way is probably because of not following your biotime. Personally, I classify as a wolf since I feel like I have more energy at night and I don’t really get “officially” up until 10 or 11am. I do fit in with some of the personality traits such as being impulsive, creative and somewhat of a pessimist. There’s always room to reflect and hopefully with me starting to follow my biotime schedule, I can improve as well.
Schedules for each chronotype are different and differ per person. I will give a basic schedule for each chronotype. If you would like to learn more, you can watch some videos on Youtube of Dr. Breus and/or you can read the book The Power of When.
- wake up at 6:30am
- have a 25 minute workout
- eat breakfast
- eat lunch at 1pm
- tackle the hardest tasks between 1pm – 4pm
- eat dinner at 7pm
- start turning off screens around 10:30
- call it a day at 11:30
- wake up at 5:30am
- have breakfast
- organize and/or meditate
- at 12pm lunch
- between 1pm – 5pm is when you feel the most creative
- exercise around 5pm
- have dinner around 6pm
- call it a day by 10:30pm
- wake up at 7am
- have a 25 minute workout session
- eat breakfast
- 10am to noon is when you are most productive
- have lunch around 12:30pm
- have a 20 minute power nap from 2:30pm to 2:50pm
- exercise around 6pm
- have dinner at 7:30pm
- call it a day at 11pm
- wake up at 7am and have a 20 minute snooze
- have breakfast at 8am,
- between 11:15am through 1pm knockout easy work
- have lunch at 1pm
- between 2pm and 4pm tackle the hard tasks
- exercise around 6pm
- have dinner at 8pm
- around 9pm and 11pm are your best and most energized moods
- call it a day at midnight
These schedules are what Dr. Breus recommended for each chronotype. The ones I wrote are general and not simplified but if you would like to learn more I really do recommend reading his book. I do hope that this may have helped you out in finding your chronotype and hopefully start improving your schedule with accordance with your biotime.