Early Bird Or Night Owl? Outdated. Bear, Dolphin, Lion Or Wolf!
The concept of ‘early birds’ and ‘night owls’ is outdated! There’s newer and more detailed theory from the American Sleep Doctor Michael Breus. He wrote the book about 4 so-called chronotypes: Bear, Lion, Wolf, and Dolphins.
In his book ‘The Power Of Sleep’, the certified sleep specialist Breus claims that if you follow your chronotype lifestyle there will be no issues with productivity, exceeded caffeine intake and sleep deprivation.
Breus builds his theory on falling asleep and waking up habits and energy patterns of each type. And he says: ‘Knowing not to act like a wolf when you’re really a bear, can help you have less painful wake-ups, fewer after-lunch slumps, and more productive workdays overall.’
There is an opportunity to take the free ‘What’s Your Chronotype?’ quiz and define whether you are a bear, a wolf, a lion or a dolphin. After passing it you’ll receive a personalized video comment from Michael Breus with your type general advice.
Redesign Your Workday For Better Productivity Using Your Sleep Habits
Breus claims that your chronotype can outline a roadmap for benefiting from body’s natural energy patterns. Let’s take a look what an ideal workday might be like, according to Michael, for all four chronotypes:
Bears are 50%–55% of the population.
“They are the ‘get it done’ group,” Breus says. “They have normal sleep schedules, but may not get quite enough sleep.”
MORNING HABITS: 7-11 AM
- Wake up gently (view free video on how to do it).
- Eat a light breakfast: fruit, yogurt, nuts, water.
- Take 10-20 minutes to plan your day.
- Then you can have your morning coffee.
PEAK PRODUCTIVE WORKING HOURS: 11 AM – 6 PM
- Start with the hardest, time and attention consuming tasks.
- Take a walk and have an early lunch to remind your body it’s time to be active. This will give you an energy boost to complete complex tasks.
- At around 2 PM your energy will be lower, but you’ll be in an excellent mood for meetings, brainstorms, and a heavy snack to take the afternoon.
AFTER WORK HABITS: 6–10 PM
- It’s a good time for your routine workout.
- After exercising have a light low carb dinner.
- Socialize after dinner if you wish or have a good read.
END OF DAY HABITS: 10-11 PM
- Turn off your devices at 10 PM
- Switch off the lights by 11. It’s quite easy for bears to stay up late, but after that, they struggle with waking up on time the next day.
Lions: “…wake up without an alarm, and it is usually dark out,” Breus says. They typically “…send emails before most people are awake” and amount to approximately 15% of the population.
MORNING HABITS: 5:30–10 AM
- Wake up around 5:30 AM before or even without any alarm. View Light exposure recommendations at
- Have a high-protein and low-carb (or even zero carbs) breakfast by 6 AM.
- Meditate for up to an hour if you practice this, or go for your usual workout.
- Have your morning coffee at 9 AM.
PEAK PRODUCTIVE WORKING HOURS: 10 AM–5 PM
- Have a small snack (a protein bar or something like that), because your breakfast was a few hours ago.
- Immerse in the most complex tasks (strategy, meetings etc).
- Have a productive pause: network with someone or have a lunch with a colleague.
- 1–2:30 PM: good time for brainstorming.
- After 3 PM: focus on easy (administrative) tasks without any detail-oriented ones.
AFTER WORK HABITS: 5 – 9:30 PM
- Leave the office earlier if it’s possible (4:30 – 5), since your energy will start to lower down.
- Have your usual workout if you haven’t done it in the morning yet. This will give you an energy boost for the rest of the evening.
- Make sure to have a balanced dinner.
END OF DAY HABITS: 9:30 –10:30 PM
- You may still have some energy to spend time with your family or friends, but you won’t be 100% engaged for sure.
- Switch off the lights by 10:30.
‘Wolves represent 15–20% of the population’, says Breus. ‘They hate mornings and usually hit the snooze button multiple times. They are late to work, and usually on their third cup of coffee at 9 AM.’
MORNING HABITS: 7:30 AM – 12 PM
- Set an alarm for 7, but let it snooze for 1-2 times to sleep in for another 20–30 min, then get out of bed. It’s not going to be easy.
- Drink a glass of water. The window sunlight will help you wake up.
- Go for a 20–40-minute walk or a bike ride whatever you prefer, try to brainstorm a bit.
- Outline your plan for the day, but do not start working tasks.
- 11 AM: have your coffee. View Breus video advice Caffeine Fading for Wolves at
PEAK PRODUCTIVE WORKING HOURS: 12 – 8 PM
- Complete the complex tasks until lunchtime or 1 PM.
- 2 PM: you’ll be at the top of your productivity hours. Switch to the hardest tasks from your plan.
- 5 PM: you’ll still be strong, have a snack and keep working. Early evening is the most creative and energized time for you.
AFTER WORK HABITS: 8 – 11 PM
- After ending your workday, you can workout at 7-8 PM.
- Have a late dinner (8 – 9 PM).
END OF DAY HABITS: 11 PM – 12 AM
- Start turning off all your devices by 11.
- You are able to stay up late into the night, but it’ll be hard to start the next morning in time, so switch off the lights by 12 AM.
Dolphins: ‘…are anxious people who have irregular sleep schedules,’ says Breus, who estimates that 10% of people belong to this chronotype. ‘They often self-diagnose as insomniacs and send emails all night long.’
MORNING HABITS: 6 – 10 AM
- Get out of bed and go to jog. Get some morning sun.
- Take a cool shower by 7:30.
- Have breakfast around 8 AM: carbs + protein, no caffeine (yet).
- Make your to-do list for the day, but do not start completing working tasks until your first coffee break.
PEAK PRODUCTIVITY WORKING HOURS: 10 AM – 6 PM
- Have a small half-decaf coffee (9:30 to 10). View ‘Caffeine Fading for Dolphins’ video advice from Michael Breus at
- 10 AM – noon: your peak creativity time, so reach the hardest goals for the day.
- After lunch (by 1 PM), you’ll feel a bit tired, so go out and grab some fresh air for 15-20 minutes.
- You’ll be at the most focused on a late afternoon, so complete all detailed tasks until 6 PM.
AFTER WORK HABITS: 6 AM–10 PM
- Go for a light workout after work. No high-intensity exercises: they may keep you awake for longer than you’d like.
- Have dinner at 7. Also, this time may be used for conversation with partners, family or friends: that’s the perfect time to resolve conflicts or brainstorm new ideas with others.
END OF DAY HABITS: 10 PM–12 AM
- By 10 PM, turn off your devices and resist to watch TV before bed. Have a hot bath to relax instead.
- If TV is how you relax, limit it up to 90 minutes.
- Switch off the lights by midnight, and try not to get up even if you find yourself awake for awhile. Chances are you’ll get asleep soon.