Discover Your Chronotype and Improve Your Sleep & Energy – The Power of When by Michael Breus

There are four different chronotypes: Lion,
Bear, Wolf and Dolphin. Which one are you? So many books focus on what to do. Few of them consider the huge impact of when,
which is what clinical psychologist Michael Breus has done, in his book titled The Power
of When. In his many years of clinical practice and
having specialized in sleep, he has found that people generally fall into four different
categories of sleep patterns and biological rhythms called chronotypes. We all have biological clocks in our brains,
a bundle of nerves called the suprachiasmatic necleus, or SCN for short, located in the
hypothalamus. Morning sunlight hitting your eyes activates
the SCN. It can be thought of as a master clock, as
it affects dozens of other biological clocks through-out the body. Examples of these are cortisol, adrenaline,
core body temperature, melatonin, and blood pressure. People naturally have variations in these
rhythms depending on their genetics. Specifically the length of your PER3 gene
determines your sleep drive. Sleep drive is how much sleep you need and
your depth of sleep. The first chronotype we’ll be looking at is
the Dolphin. Dolphins make up 10% of the population. With a low sleep drive, they are essentially
insomniacs. They struggle to fall asleep, and stay asleep. They wake up feeling unrefreshed, and are
tired until late in the evening, when they suddenly feel an increase in energy. Their daily cortisol rhythms are actually
flipped compared to the other types. The same thing is true for their blood pressure. Personality-wise they are generally anxious,
neurotic, and irritable. But also highly intelligent. They show special attention to detail and
perfectionism, and are happiest when left alone to work by themselves rather than in
groups. Lion. Lions make up 15 to 20 percent of the population. Their sleep drive is medium. They wake up early with a ton of energy, and
they go back to bed early with little energy to spare. Optimistic overachievers, they are society’s
go-getters. Most CEOs and entrepreneurs are lions. Lions are health conscious, eating well, and
exercising regularly, and have a high life satisfaction. They assume leadership roles in groups, despite
tending to be introverts. They are usually less creative than others,
and they can struggle with social events due to getting tired in the evening. Bear. At 50 percent of the population, most people
are bears. With their high sleep drive, bears sleep deeply
and rise with the sun, at which point they wake up in a haze. Often hitting the snooze button, they wish
they could stay in bed for longer. They are hungry upon waking, and often hungry
in general. They strive to be healthy, but they don’t
always achieve this goal. Bears are team players and worker bees, and
are also friendly and easy to talk to. They generally have good people skills. Wolf. The remaining 15 to 20 percent of us are wolves. Their sleep drive is medium. Wolves naturally tend to wake up late with
some serious morning grogginess, and go to bed late at night after having an energetic
evening. Usually not hungry at all in the morning,
but hungry like, indeed, a wolf, after dark. They are creative, pessimistic, and moody. Although comfortable being alone, wolves are
often extroverted and love a good party. Impulsive and open-minded, they are most likely
to be addicts out of all the chronotypes. They are also the chronotype that is most
out of sync with normal society, and can be perceived and labeled as lazy because of it. These chronotypes make sense if you look at
it from an evolutionary perspective. It made it so that regardless of the time
of night, someone was probably awake and able to alert the tribe of imminent dangers. And if nobody happened to be awake, at least
there were a few dolphins that would wake up at the slightest sound. Dolphins are Dr Breus’ most common client,
since they are the ones that struggle most with sleep, and need the most advice. So for you dolphins out there, 6 hours of
sleep is pretty much the best you are going to get, and you should be happy with that. Focus on increasing energy in the early hours
to make better use of them, by following the tips that I will cover in just a moment, and
decrease anxiety in the evening for a more restful night. You can do this with meditation, yoga, or
going through and releasing your anxious thoughts. Avoid naps as it will make sleeping properly
at night much harder. If tired, take a short active break, such
as walking outside and getting some sunlight. The following is general advice and interesting
information that applies to every type: Exercise spikes your cortisol and adrenaline, which
are wakefulness hormones. This makes exercise a great choice to start
off your day if you struggle with low energy in the morning. When it comes to lions, Dr Breus recommends
you wait until the evening to exercise, since your peak energy already is in the morning
and if you exercise at that point it won’t add much energy to your day. Get some sunlight shortly after waking. This will activate your SCN and provide you
with some vitamin D which also helps you sleep better at night. Aim for 5-15 minutes of sun, and expose your
eyes to direct sunlight for at least a second. Drink a glass of room temperature water and
eat your breakfast within one hour of waking, even wolves need breakfast. This, in combination with the sunlight, will
synchronize your brain and gut clocks. Have a consistent wake and sleep time. In one study, exposure to bright light and
consistent wake time was almost twice as effective as exercise in curing depression. If you stay up late in the weekend, it is
highly recommended to still wake up at your regular waking time, to avoid what Dr Breus
dubs “sunday night insomnia” and the resulting drowsiness and feeling like a zombie on monday
morning. Make your body wake up with a cold shower,
which is another activity that triggers wakefulness hormones. A warm shower is more suitable for the evening,
as it will cause sleepiness. Carbs trigger sleepiness by increasing the
amount of serotonin in your brain. Avoid heavy carbs when you need energy, and
instead eat it for your last meal of the day to help you fall asleep. Lions should avoid heavy carbs with their
dinner if they want to have more energy in the evening. Eat the majority of your calories in the first
half of the day rather than the second. Researchers at Harvard found that skipping
breakfast increased your risk of coronary heart disease by 27 percent, and men who ate
late at night had a 55 percent higher risk. In a study where mice had either 24 hours per
day access to food, or restricted to 8 hours per day, with the exact same amount and type
of food every day, the mice that had the 8 hour restricted feeding time stayed healthy,
while the 24 hour fed mice became obese and diabetic. So in other words, avoid late night snacking. Not only does it make you gain weight, but
it also disrupts your sleep quality. Alcohol messes with your sleep and prevents
you from entering proper REM sleep. Do not drink alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. Don’t drink coffee in the morning, but rather
wait 3-4 hours until your cortisol drops. Have your last cup at 2 pm. Napping in the afternoon can deliver a huge
performance boost. A study found that a 10 minute nap was optimal,
and longer than 20 minutes actually impaired performance. This has to do with the sleep cycle and what
stage you enter. If you go a full 90 minute sleep cycle then
that can be very refreshing as well. Avoid blue light & screens for at least an
hour before bedtime. Blue light specifically hinders the production
of the sleep hormone melatonin. When we are wide awake and at our peak alert
time, is when we are most capable of important analytical tasks. On the other hand, when we are tired and groggy,
our creative and brainstorming abilities are amplified. Athletic running performance can be significantly
impacted by your chronotype, a study found that people had up to 26% worse performance
when running at their off peak times. Most medications seem to be much more effective
when taken during the evening or night. Chemo drugs for example are found to be 7
times more effective at night than in the morning. Of course, check with your doctor before making
any changes. Do not fight with your partner if you are
underslept, it causes overreactivity. When you get tired you get more irresponsible
– which is why casinos don’t have windows or clocks in them, they want you to stay as
late as possible. One last thing worth mentioning is the fact
that our chronotypes can actually change over the course of our lives, and certain age groups
are predominantly of one chronotype. Infants are wolves, toddlers tend to be lions,
grade schoolers are mostly bears, teenagers wolves, adults are mainly bears and seniors
typically become either lions or dolphins. Although you won’t be the same chronotype
your entire life, between ages 21 and 65 your chronotype will remain the same. If you didn’t recognize yourself as any
of the chronotypes, you can go to to take a short quiz created by the author
of the book. If you enjoyed this video and this type of
information, I’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe to the channel. Thank you for watching.

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