Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype!

Updated on September 25th, 2023

December 13th 2021

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  • To be productive in professional life, we need to live and work according to our chronotype.

  • In fact, there are more than just two chronotypes. In this article, we introduce four most popular chronotypes: bear, wolf, lion, and dolphin.

  • For each chronotype, we discuss the ideal daily schedule for each chronotype, the symptoms that will help you recognize that you represent this chronotype, and the strong and weak sides of professionals representing each chronotype.

Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype!

Have you ever felt that you underperform and chronically procrastinate at work? …That you are never fully rested? Even after taking a proper vacation time, you are still dizzy at the office? That your professional development is slow and suboptimal even though you are a diligent person who enjoys what you do for a living?

Well, it might so be that your work and qualities of a good employee are not aligned with your natural circadian clock — time to learn about the four most prevalent chronotypes. 

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“Chrono,” means “relates to time.” Thus, a chronotype is a term to summarize all behaviors related to circadian rhythms. The fact that individuals have varying preferences for a sleeping time during the night has a deep biological meaning. In the old days, this interpersonal variability allowed small tribes to stay vigilant to potential dangers overnight.

For this reason, morningness-eveningness in the population follows a normal distribution (Roenneberg et al., 2007). This trait is probably at least partly genetically determined (Pegoraro et al., 2015), and we cannot influence it. As the sleeping coach Alex Savy likes to say, “courtesy of the PER3 gene that defines one’s circadian patterns.”

And yet, today, most working environments are under the dictatorship of morning larks: in a typical working scheme, employees should appear in the office in the early morning no matter what their natural preferences are. In that sense, the professional development and career management process of night owls tend to be hindered.

More Than Just Two Groups of People.

Stereotypically, we like to think that there are two groups of individuals: the artsy, hipster, scatterbrained, intelligent, Einstein-type night owls, and the self-disciplined, well-organized, peaceful, positive, efficient morning larks.

However, in reality, there are more than just two possibilities! In fact, as Dr. Michael Breus (also known as the Sleep Doctor) described in his bestselling book “The Power of When,” there are at least four categories you can fall into.

Each of these chronotypes is characterized by different activity patterns throughout the day. They are conventionally named after four animals displaying similar activity patterns: a bear, a lion, a wolf, and a dolphin.

Your status of a good employee and professional success can well depend on whether you can find a position where you can use your energy optimally! Therefore, it is good to take this factor into account while building your career development strategies.

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The Bear Chronotype.

The bear chronotype is the category closest to what we conventionally understand as morning larks. Bears wake in the morning, keep being a good employee and most productive before lunch, and get dizzy right after lunch, to then decompress completely in the afternoon.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Bear Chronotype.

  • 7 a.m.: Waking up
  • 10 a.m.–2 p.m.: Deep/creative work
  • 2–4 p.m.: Lighter tasks
  • 4 p.m.+: Relax
  • 11 p.m.–7 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Bear Chronotype?

If you feel an inflow of energy while sitting down by your desk in the morning, and then your energy is slowly leaking throughout the day, and if you experience issues with starting any new tasks after lunch, you are most likely a bear!

Good News For The Bear Chronotype.

Well, the good news is that the majority of the adult population are bears. So, you are not the only one! As a bear, you are also likely an optimist and an extroverted person. Most workplaces, especially in large companies and organizations, are suited to accommodate bears, therefore, you can feel catered to and understood.

Bears keep a solid, steady working pace, moving systematically from task to task. In the long run, their professional development and career management process are systematic and steady.

They always go forward — without rapid explosions of energy and then, the periods of downtime. As a bear, you don’t overpromise at work; you tend to be solid and reliable.

Bad News For The Bear Chronotype.

Your “energy bar” dries out relatively quickly throughout the day, which impacts your professional development and career management process. 

Therefore, you need to be careful about how you allocate your energy in the morning. Be religious about your uninterrupted deep work time before lunch, as the focus will make you thrive! You best meeting time in the afternoon where you no longer focus on new professional tasks. Therefore, lobby for afternoon meetings at work.

As a bear, you are not the type of person who can throw all-nighters, party during the working week, and then come to the office in the morning and perform. Most bears can only handle this when they are 20… After that — sorry, not anymore!

Therefore, take care of the quality of your sleep. One weak night sleep in a working week and you won’t recuperate until the next weekend.

Examples of Famous Individuals Representing the Bear Chronotype.

Some examples of famous people who represent the bear chronotype include Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Zuckerberg, or LeBron James.

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The Wolf Chronotype.

On the contrary, the wolf chronotype is the category closest to what we conventionally understand as night owls. Wolves gear up to work in the morning slower than others and start functioning intellectually at about noon.

They also experience a second boost of energy about 6 pm, when most people in their professional environment are already done with work. About 15% of the population of the job market belongs to this category.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Wolf Chronotype.

  • 8–9 a.m.: Waking up
  • 10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Lighter tasks
  • 12–2 p.m.: Deep/creative work
  • 2–5 p.m.: Lighter tasks
  • 5–9 p.m.: Deep/creative work
  • 9–12 a.m.: Relax
  • 12–8 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Wolf Chronotype?

If you cannot get down to any meaningful tasks right of the bat at work, but rather, you are tempted to check your emails first, you might be a wolf. Mind that is easy to mess procrastination with this chronotype. 

The difference is all about what happens later throughout the day. If you still can produce in the afternoon, you are a wolf. And if you don’t, you might be just plain lazy 🙂

Good News For The Wolf Chronotype.

Wolves are creative and independent. Moreover, they have two creative periods during the working day instead of just one, which makes them competitive professionals, who have good employee characteristics. 

Furthermore, wolves are better than bears in handling unpredictability. They can also handle an unforeseen disturbance in sleep a bit better at work.

It’s also not true that wolves are always artists — millions of shrewd analytic minds also share this profile. Furthermore, now in the times of remote work taking over the professional world, wolves have more opportunities than ever to fine-tune their working days to fit their individual needs.

Bad News For The Wolf Chronotype.

Wolves can have hard time working among bears, as it’s not easy for them to wake up early in the morning. As a wolf, you can also feel like a misfit as your preferred working style won’t necessarily fit the expectations at your workplace. 

At the end of the day, many bosses at employees at face value: if you are not in the office between 9-5, it means that you don’t work or you lost your motivation at work.

Furthermore, wolves tend to be more introverted and shy. Many wolves find freelancing or startup life their way to live life as they can then adjust their working hours to their nonlinear activity pattern. However, as mentioned before, now in the times of remote work it is easier than ever to adjust your working style to this profile in any working environment.

Examples of Famous Individuals Representing the Wolf Chronotype.

Some examples of famous people who represent the wolf chronotype include Madonna, Elon Musk, Keith Richards, or James Joyce.

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The Lion Chronotype.

Lions are on the opposite schedule: they are early birds who experience their most productive hours and in the early morning and before noon. They also tend to fall asleep relatively early.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Lion Chronotype.

  • 5–6 a.m.: Waking up
  • 6–10 a.m.: Deep/creative work
  • 10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Lighter tasks
  • 12-2 p.m.: The mid-day dip
  • 2–5 p.m.: Lighter tasks
  • 5–9 a.m.: Relax
  • 9 p.m.–5 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Lion Chronotype?

If you tend to naturally wake up before sunrise and you are out of steam by early evening, you are probably a lion. Many lions also experience an energy dip around noon, and need to boost their energy levels with coffee or even take a power nap.

Good News For The Lion Chronotype.

Lions also have the highest life satisfaction rates among all chronotypes. They tend to be productive, highly functional, and overly healthy (which includes excellent mental health). Working early in the morning allows for silence and independence that helps in structuring and organizing the day, and staying ahead of others. 

Lions are hard-workers, high achievers, and natural strategists; they often play the role of leaders in teams, and infect their teams with energy and enthusiasm. They are self-driven and self-motivated, and usually skillfully manage all areas of their life, from taking care of health and looks to maintaining close relationships with people.

Bad News For The Lion Chronotype.

Lions are highly productive, but this comes at a cost: going to sleep early every day leaves them with few occasions to build social life and network. In the Western culture, most social gatherings happen in the evenings after all.

If you are a lion, your sleeping schedule might also pose problems to people around you. Waking up before sunrise might disturb bears around you – which are in majority. 

Examples of Famous Individuals Representing the Lion Chronotype.

Some examples of famous people who represent the lion chronotype include Indra Nooyi, Tim Cook, Richard Branson, or Benjamin Franklin.

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The Dolphin Chronotype.

Lastly, about 10% of the professionals represent the dolphin chronotype. Dolphins gear up the longest during the day, but once they reach their peak productivity about 3 pm, they keep productive until about 9 pm in the evening. Alike wolves, they are creative and scatter-brained. Furthermore, they usually don’t sleep too well.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Dolphin Chronotype.

  • 7:00–8:00 a.m.: Waking up
  • 8–10 a.m.: Easy tasks
  • 10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Deep/creative work
  • 12–4 p.m.: Deep/creative work but with less pressure
  • 4 p.m.–12 a.m.: Relax
  • 12–7:00 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Dolphin Chronotype?

If you gear up at work really slowly and you can never push yourself to do meaningful work before lunch, you might be a typical dolphin. Also, if you feel that you are all around the place, and you cannot focus on one task for too long — well, there you go.

Good News For The Dolphin Chronotype.

Dolphins are typically creative and intelligent, and much more extroverted than wolves. Therefore, even if your working style is different from most professionals around you, no need to worry about your professional career development. With your social skills, you will likely get out of any problems anyways.

Bad News For The Dolphin Chronotype.

Your distractibility might stand on your path to professional success. In most professionals, lazor focus is the key to success in the career development process, and if you can’t achieve it, sooner or later you will get outraced by other professionals. 

Work on the quality of your sleep, and create optimal conditions to sleep well. Make sure to calm down and rest before going to bed every night!

Examples of Famous Individuals Representing the Dolphin Chronotype.

Some examples of famous people who represent the dolphin chronotype include Mariah Carey, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Phelps, Eminem, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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Do You Sleep According To Your Chronotype?

Many professionals sleep against their natural chronotype, for multiple reasons. In most cases, this concerns “night owls” (namely, wolves and dolphins) who attempt to adopt the lifestyle of the “early birds” (lions and bears) as, in general, the job market is more welcoming to early birds than to night owls.

So, if you tend to sleep against your chronotype, what is the underlying reason? Does your job require going against your chronotype? Or perhaps, your anxiety presses you to wake up too early?

Many entrepreneurs believe that they should wake up early and start working on Sunday to be ahead of the crowd, but it is nothing else than a subconscious fear of falling behind.

Many professionals wake up too early because of the accumulated stress or bad dietary habits, for instance heavy alcohol consumption. Perhaps it is time for a medical check?

How To Determine Your Chronotype?

Lastly, are you still unsure about your chronotype? There are a few self-discovery exercises that can help you self-diagnose yourself:

  • Take an online chronotype test such as the quiz by Sleep Doctor,
  • Hold a sleep diary: for a period of a few weeks, record the times of falling asleep and waking up, and evaluate the degree to which you slept well on a scale (for instance, 1-10). Then, look for the patterns over time. If your sleeping pattern in highly irregular, you might represent the dolphin type.
  • Observe your body and level of energy in general. Look for flow states and for the moments of maximal energy and peaks of motivation for work. Don’t compare with others: the fact that the job market is mostly suited for bear chronotype doesn’t mean that it is the “right” chronotype!

<h2 “id=”h2-9”>Can Your Diet Change Your Chronotype?

Interestingly, there is lots of evidence that your diet has a massive impact on your sleeping patterns. Some of the facts confirmed by scientific studies:

  • Low-carb diets (keto also known as ketogenic diet, as well as paleo diet) often lead to changed pattern of sleeping activity, and the tendency to fall asleep earlier into the night (typically around 10-11pm) and waking up earlier than high-carb diet,
  • Ingestion of alcohol before sleep typically causes waking up earlier. However, the length and quality of the REM sleep is lower hence sleep after alcohol is less regenerative,
  • Consuming certain foods and beverages such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and energy drinks close to bedtime can lead to poor sleep. Especially coffee should be consumed at least 6 hours before sleep,
  • If you have issues with your sleep quality, you might try foods that contain melatonin such as kiwis or tart cherries. According to a study from Taiwan, people who ate two kiwis approximately one hour before bed for four weeks fell asleep 14 minutes faster and slept 40 minutes longer than people who did not eat any kiwis. Another study from the United Kingdom, found that people who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day — 30 minutes after waking up, and also 30 minutes before dinner — slept longer and better than people who drank a placebo cherry drink.
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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2021, December, 13th). Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype! Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/dizzy-at-work-work-according-to-your-chronotype/

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