Last year my friend asked me a strange question out of the blue. We were talking about what makes people successful and then she suddenly asked me, "What's your sleep animal?"
It took me by surprise and I thought she got bored of our conversation, but turns out she wanted to prove a point.
According to sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus, everyone has a sleep animal, and the more we understand which animal's energy we channel the better we can improve our daily productivity.
In his book The Power of When, Breus lists four sleep animals: the lion, dolphin, bear, and wolf.
These animals are categorized into chronotypes (internal body clock cycles) to help us identify which times of the day we work best and should take advantage of.
Read each chronotype to see how you can live a healthier, more productive life.
Lion: early riser
The "King of the Beasts" is an early riser. People who channel the spirit of the lion like to wake up before everyone else.
Lions stand out from the other chronotypes because they feel alert right when the wake up, rarely suffering from that morning grogginess.
All they need is a nutritious meal to give them lots of energy for the long day ahead of them.
Before most people are awake, lions have already thought of all their great ideas.
The afternoon is a time for a lion to brainstorm and mull over any tough decisions.
Lions like to exercise in the evening before they eat dinner, then they'll go to sleep earlier than everyone else.
They're always one step ahead of the game, which is the reason why people who channel the spirit of the lion are the most successful people.
Lions make great leaders and are the types of people that others gain inspiration from.
In general, lions are very optimistic people, which is another reason why they're able to succeed better than the other chronotypes.
According to Breus, only 15% to 20% of the population are lions.
“These are my people that like to go from A to B to C. They like to kind of have things in a very particular order, don’t like to deviate,” Breus explained to CBS.
Dolphin: light sleeper
According to Breus, 10% of the population are dolphins.
Dolphins require absolute silence and darkness in order to get a good night's rest.
You can also be categorized as a dolphin if you suffer from insomnia.
While real dolphins are joyous creatures that love jumping around and being silly, people who are characterized as a dolphin tend to be worried.
“[Dolphins] are my highly intelligent but problem sleepers. These people have a little bit of obsessive-compulsive to them, so much to the point that sometimes they don’t get stuff done,” Breus explained to CBS.
They're perfectionist, and mull over minute details, which usually keeps them up most of the night.
Dolphins are likely always tired, but still like to exercise in the mornings to boost their mood and energy levels.
Their peak time of function is late at night. This is the time they can brainstorm ideas and work on creative projects.
Bear: average sleeper
Breus thinks of bears, who account for 50% of the population, as the "glue of society."
These people's energy levels are dependent on the rise and fall of the sun. When they get their 8 hours of sleep, they feel refreshed and ready to tackle anything in the day.
They love to take naps, but can still be quite active in the daytime without it.
Bears like to spend their mornings doing small tasks, such as planning their day, having a cup of coffee, and doing a few minutes of exercise.
Mid-morning to early afternoon is the time a bear is most productive. They'll think of all their great ideas around this time or in the evening.
Evening time is also best for strenuous exercise, where they unwind and relax after a busy day.
Bears are also very cautious and afraid to take risks, which is why it's best if they plan out their day in the mornings and make those tough decisions later on in the day.
Breus also categorizes bears as friendly and open-minded people.
That being said, bears tend to cling onto the familiar and are afraid to take risks.
Wolf: saves energy for the evening
Wolves account for 15% to 20% of the population.
These people have a very hard time waking up in the morning and usually have to set up several back up alarms in case they don't wake up.
Wolves are very impulsive and moody, but they're creative.
Like lions, wolves can be very successful because of their impulsive drive. They tend to take risks when others don't, and because they're creative, they usually succeed.
They feel most alert after 7:00 p.m. and don't feel sleepy until after midnight.
If you're a wolf, your favorite meal is dinner.
Breus believes most wolves have jobs in medicine, technology, or the creative arts.
“Wolves are night owls. I’m actually a wolf and so I like to stay up late and I used to like to sleep in, but I don’t need a tremendous amount of sleep,” Breus told CBS.
After doing some research into each sleep animal, I figured out my own and tried to see how that particular chonotype has influenced my life so far.
As a lion, I love to wake up earlier than everyone else and get most of my work done before the afternoon.
My ex-husband, however, is a wolf, and our different sleep schedules impacted our relationship without us knowing it at the time.
I was ready to start my day early, but he loved to sleep in. I wanted to sleep around 10:00 p.m., but he wanted to stay up until 1:00 a.m.
Breus doesn't think everyone should strictly follow their chronotype, but encourages people to be aware of what their sleep animal is.
When we take advantage of the time of the day that we're most productive, the more likely we're able to succeed.
What's your sleep animal? If you're still unsure, take the quiz to find out.
Now that you know your sleep animal, check out what your sleeping position says about your personality.