How to Conquer the Day (and Night) by Hacking Your Chronotype

In the Before Time (read: before coronavirus struck and remote work became more commonplace) there were four types of people on the morning commute.

First, there was the person falling asleep in their seat – most likely one of the 15% of Americans who doze off while at work. Second, there’s the one working on their laptop while drinking their fourth cup of coffee of the day. Then there’s the person who’s listening to music or reading a book, conserving their productivity for the office. Last but not least, there’s the individual who’s working one minute but snoring the next.

These people are wolves, lions, bears, and dolphins respectively.

Not sure what the hell I’m talking about?

Then you haven’t heard of chronotypes.

Luckily for you, in this Process Street post I’ll be exploring what a chronotype is, the 4 different sleep chronotypes, and how to find and hack your chronotype for maximal productivity.

Just read through these sections to get completed clued-up:

Time’s ticking, so let’s dive in! ?


A chronotype is the categorization of a person’s genetic tendency to sleep.

Getting into the science behind it, each person has a circadian typology — or internal clock — that either makes them a morning person, an evening person, or neither.

These chronotypes can then be broken-down — most notably by Dr. Michael Breus — into the following four sleep chronotypes:

The bear chronotype The wolf chronotype The lion chronotype And the dolphin chronotype.

By understanding which category you fall into, you can then align our sleeping, eating, and working habits accordingly, ensuring you’re going about each day and night in a more efficient, effective manner.

Due to underlying biological and genetic factors, each person’s chronotype is hardcoded. This means you can’t physically change or alter your chronotype as it’s determined by the PER3 gene.

However, factors such as age may influence chronotypes. For instance, older people are generally-speaking morning people, while in their youth they may have been late risers akin to the wolf chronotype.

Now, how do chronotypes figure into work and the workplace?

Chronotypes, work, and the workplace

The norm of 9-5 office working is restrictive.

By asking employees to work inside an office for a set 8 hours from Monday to Friday, not only are you barring team members from tapping into true productivity, but you’re also losing money in the process.

A pandemic wasn’t necessary to demonstrate this, though: It was common knowledge before the novel coronavirus.

Take this example of changes made inside a German factory, reported by the New York Times in 2018:

“A few years ago, scientists conducted a real-world experiment at a ThyssenKrupp steel factory in Germany. They assigned the day shift to early risers and the late shift to night owls.

“They got 16 percent more sleep, almost a full night’s length over the course of the week,” said Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, who headed the study. “That is enormous.”

“It’s a huge financial burden not to sleep properly,” Dr. Roenneberg said. “The estimates go toward 1 percent of gross national product,” both in the United States and Germany.”Emily Laber-Warren, New Office Hours Aim for Well Rested, More Productive Workers

The huge financial burden, as Dr. Roenneberg

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