Whoever knew that your sleeping patterns could carry some insight into your personality! How many of us were brought up and told that we must eat a full breakfast as it was the most important meal of the day? Along with the words that we should go to bed by 11pm at the latest to give our bodies time to rest for the next day?
Although all of the above may work for some people, others may find it harder to keep up to such a routine. To some of us, we may find ourselves almost going against our nature, or against what our bodies are trying to tell us when we desperately try to keep up to that routine. I as many, am that person. I was brought up thinking that the above routine was normal for every single person, yet I find it hard to keep up with.
Personality chronotypes by Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D
I have recently come across some work done by Dr. Michael J. Breus, Ph.D in clinical psychology, whose specialty is sleep disorders. He mentions that all of us are not the same and that there are four chronotypes that are based on our biological clocks or sleep patterns and may explain our behavior towards mornings and evenings. Personality types are no longer split into an Early Bird and a Night Owl. Each of these chronotypes is also linked to a specific animal, whose sleeping habits may correspond to ours.
Good sleepers and have an appetite during any time of the day. They also prefer the daytime and have a high sleep drive which they enjoy as they are known to be hitting the snooze button several times in the morning before getting out of bed. They are known to feel tired towards the middle of the day or towards the evening.
Although this chronotype can eat at any given time of the day, it is suggested to fit in a 30-minute walk before having lunch. This may help you, by taking into account your personality, not only speed up their metabolism but also improve their concentration for the second half of the day.
Dolphins are unihemispheric sleepers by nature, which means that only half of their brain sleeps at a time while the other half remains awake and alert to concentrate on swimming and looking out for predators. People who fit this chronotype are commonly insomniacs, light sleeps, and have a low sleep drive. They also normally wake up feeling quite tired and begin to feel wide awake towards the end of the day.
It is also very common that these people tend to forget to have lunch during their day. If your personality fits the one of a dolphin, it is important for them to remember or to set reminders to not skip lunch, as it will help them refuel and give them that boost of energy for the rest of the day.
The phrase we have been told about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and not to stay up longer than 11pm, fits this chronotype perfectly. Typical morning people who are ready to have a good breakfast before actively beginning their day. They seem to be pretty worn out by the second half of the day. Their sleep drive is medium and they have no problem falling asleep.
If you see your personality to be one resembling the lion, it is suggested for people who fit this type of chronotype, to avoid eating carbohydrates during dinner as they will raise the serotonin levels (‘comfort hormone’) and will make them want to sleep. Protein, however, will help them stay alert, sociable, and energized until bedtime.
This chronotype applies to those people who, as the animal, feel more comfortable and alert during the second half of the day and evenings. Anyone who may have difficulty waking up, as well as having a lack of appetite in the mornings. However, once it hits the second part of the day, they feel energized, focused and the appetite rises.
If you have this personality, mornings tend to have you be moody and a tad disorientated. It is suggested for people with this chronotype to take a short walk of 15 minutes or so once they awaken, which will send signals to their brains, informing them to stop producing melatonin (a hormone that helps us sleep) and that it is time to wake up. These people may also be called night owls, as they seem to be the most productive during the evenings when most people are in a deep sleep.
Your Personality and your body
Having the knowledge on your personality and how your body works can help you plan your day efficiently and productively. Especially for people who have flexible working hours, or bosses who may have a round-the-clock business with employees working night shifts and day shifts. The understanding that some people may be more productive during certain times of the day will help the overall result of the business.
The importance of understanding yourself and how your body functions are not only for convenience. If you desperately try to go against what your body naturally is programmed to do, you may be causing more harm to yourself in the long run. Your body is a machine, and just like any machine, it has a way of running and producing results. The more you know about it, the more efficiently you may utilize the machine without wearing and tearing it down simply because you didn’t understand its mechanics in the first place.