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The Dolphin Sleep Chronotype

dolphin chronotype
Dolphin chronotypes, like their aquatic counterparts, are intelligent, curious, and sociable.

Updated 10/13/23

The Dolphin Sleep Chronotype

As promised, we’re doing a series with tips for the different chronotypes. Each post will focus on problem areas for an individual archetype--with helpful tips for better sleep. We’ll also look at ways to help each type manage their daily life schedules in accordance with their chronotype. Let’s begin with the Dolphin Sleep Chronotype and some tips for sleep-challenged Dolphins—but first…

A quick review of chronotypes

Your chronotype is the manifestation of your internal clock’s influence on your 24-hour cycle of sleep and daily activities. Once you understand your individual chronotype, it’s important to work with—not against it—for maximum productivity.

Each chronotype is different and is internally programmed to perform certain tasks at particular times during a 24-hour cycle.

Working in cooperation with your chronobiology boosts efficiency—allowing you to complete each task when your energy level is best-suited for that activity. Below, we’ll offer sleep tips for Dolphins.

Is your chronotype the Dolphin?

If you haven’t identified your chronotype yet, you can take a free quiz, developed by “the Sleep Doctor,” Michael Breus, PhD. It’s available here: www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com.

If it turns out your chronotype is not the Dolphin, you’ll still be able to pick up some basic tips here. Then be sure to check back—or sign up to receive our twice-monthly blog—for more personalized tips in future posts.

A graphic illustration of a man slumped over his laptop, asleep. A co-worker or boss looks at him as he walks by with briefcase in hand.

When you're sleep-challenged, working with your chronotype will help you manage energy slumps during the day.

Chronotype Profiling

Something to keep in mind:  Researchers do not base conclusions on absolutes but on percentages tabulated within particular study groups. So, expect that chronotype characteristics may vary somewhat between one dolphin and another dolphin. And, likewise, with the other archetypes.

Hybridization is also a possibility. It is quite normal, especially among Bear chronotypes, to have some characteristics in common with another chronotype. You can find more information on Bear, Wolf and Lion chronotypes, and other identifying considerations, from Dr Breus in his book “The Power of When”—or sign up for his free newsletter when you take the free quiz.  Now, let’s move on to those tips for sleep-challenged Dolphins…

Dolphin chronotype characteristics

Dolphins are the rarest chronotype—accounting for only 10% of the population. These are characteristics typically associated with the Dolphin archetype…

Personality Traits

  • Cautious
  • Driven
  • Intelligent
  • Introverted
  • Nervous
  • Type A

Behavioral Habits

  • Avoiding risky situations
  • Fixating on details
  • Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
  • Perfectionism
  • Resolving problems

Dolphin Sleep Challenges:

Dolphins’ driven natures and busy, problem-solving minds create a steady stream of stress and anxiety throughout the day and into the night. This causes them to struggle regularly with sleep—they have trouble relaxing enough to fall asleep and may awaken often during the night.

Sleep and Energy—Basic tips for Dolphins…

Ready to begin working with your Dolphin chronotype for better sleep? The first thing to do is to focus your attention on your daily energy patterns. (These basics are actually a good starting point for all the other chronotype archetypes as well.)

Use a notebook or journal to make notes regarding your energy levels and preferred sleep times.

Photo of a man's hands, writing in a journal.

A notebook or journal will help you get going and then keep you on track. Make the following notations to guide you in learning how to better structure your days as well as your sleep…

  • At what time of day do you feel most tired?
  • When do you feel most energized?
  • When are you best at completing projects?
  • Identify your best sleep time *must include a full 8-hour night

*Though 7- 8-hours of sleep is optimal for other chronotypes, it is simply not doable for Dolphins. As Dr Breus explains, “it is not in a Dolphin’s biology to get 8 consecutive hours of sleep night after night.”

What a Dolphin really needs to achieve truly restorative sleep is consistency. With their unique chronobiology, they do very well by simply maintaining 6 hours of regular nightly sleep.

Use up your energy

It’s important for all of us to get enough physical activity during the day so we’ll be able to feel tired enough for sleep at the end of the day. Be sure to schedule time in the evening for a wind-down routine that relaxes both body and mind so you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Rules for Dolphins

Simply stated, Dolphins have more sleep issues than other chronotypes. First off, they’re highly sensitive to both light and sound. It’s critical that Dolphins maintain a sleep space conducive to their sleep which means controlling their exposure to light—this includes exposure to blue light from devices.

They also need to be able to fully block out intrusive sound. SoundOff sleep earbuds will benefit Dolphins’ sleep in two ways. Sound Off’s robust noise masking will prevent Dolphins from hearing disruptive external sounds from noisy neighbors, loud hotels, barking dogs…

And because SoundOff plays soothing pink noise which relaxes the brain, Dolphins will find it easier to calm their overactive minds so they can settle down and get the sleep they need.

Practice mindfulness

Dolphins are particularly prone to insomnia and other sleep issues so it’s especially important for them to exercise mindfulness habits during the day.

Making good lifestyle decisions throughout the day is important to boost health and limit stress—which will ultimately support the Dolphin’s sleep goals. Committing to a regular nighttime wind-down ritual helps them achieve consistently restful sleep.

Dolphins’ persistent sleep issues also make it hard for them to wake up and get going in the morning. We have a few tips which will help in overcoming those challenges as well.

A white bowl filled with luscious-looking blueberries and strawberries, on a bright blue background.

A great tip for Dolphins? Choose an afternoon snack that will convert to energy and help keep you alert.

The Dolphin’s diet

Morning

Start the day right by getting the proper morning nutrients for your chronotype. For Dolphins that means forgoing bagels and sugary cereals in favor of protein. Dolphins are better served by fueling their muscles with one of these options…

  • Eggs & bacon
  • Yogurt
  • Protein shake

*No AM snacks

Noon

Admit it Dolphins—you often forget to eat lunch! Set up a notification system to remind you to eat at 1:00 daily. Again, consistency is key. At lunchtime, support your body and brain by consuming 1/3 carbs, 1/3 fat and 1/3 protein—these are good options…

  • Soup and salad
  • Sandwich
  • Burrito
  • +Water

Afternoon snacks are ok if you’re hungry—mindless, random snacking doesn’t help anyone. Choose snacks that will convert to energy and help keep you more alert—like fruits and vegetables.

Evening

Now’s your time for carbs. Why? It will raise your Serotonin levels and drop your Cortisol levels—this relaxes your body and mind so you can fall asleep. It also helps you stay asleep.

If a bowl of mac and cheese or a dressed baked potato isn’t your thing, try this…

  • Oatmeal is a great dinnertime option—it’s high in fiber and provides a melatonin boost.
    • FiberWe know it’s vital to gut health, but fiber also boasts a range of extended health benefits including appetite control, blood sugar balancing and immune system support. Fiber is a known sleep-booster and approximately 95% of us don’t get enough of it.
    • Melatonin—This sleep-promoting hormone can be found in rice and barley as well. Feel free to top off your grains with nuts and seeds, and /or a banana—all of these will give you an extra melatonin bump.

If you need a bedtime snack, Dr Breus recommends keeping it between 100 and 200 calories, made up of 50% carbs and 50% fat:

  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Cereal with milk

The biggest sleep challenge for Dolphins?

Managing their energy can be a constant effort for Dolphins.  They struggle with shaking free from morning grogginess and keeping their energy up during the early daytime. Then, they contend with sudden energy boosts in the afternoon, and an inability to wind down completely at night.

This yo-yo-ing does nothing to soothe their already anxious tendencies—which in turn does nothing to prepare their minds and bodies for restful sleep when it’s bedtime.  Developing a personalized sleep routine is critical for Dolphins.

Wind-down Basics for Dolphins

  • Avoid screens in the evening—or use blue light blocking glasses
  • Friendly conversations about light topics will help you to de-stress
  • Warm baths are great for releasing muscle tension
  • Get nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper with a “worry journal
  • Avoid stimulating exercise before bedtime. 
  • Reading a not-too-stimulating book will help lower your cortisol levels
  • Make your next day’s “to-do-list”—then forget about tomorrow and get some sleep!

A better start to your days

Morning mind fog from insufficient sleep is typical for Dolphins. Start your day out right and get the most productivity flowing with these tips for Dolphins…

Daytime productivity tips for Dolphins

  • It’s especially important for Dolphins to get up at the same time each day—do not hit the snooze button!
  • Dr. Breus recommends a cool shower first thing in the morning and/or a hot bath at night
  • Exposure to light within 15 minutes signals your body to wake up and get moving
  • Hydrate first thing—with something non-caffeinated—save coffee for a bit later
  • Jumpstart your metabolism with a light-to-medium workout
  • Begin your day with the least-complex tasks—your focus improves after 10 am
  • Have a bright idea? Your best time to discuss it is between 8:00 am and noon
  • Take a meditation break or a nap to deal with energy drops during the day
  • Cut off the caffeine at 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm is a good time for creativity (as is 5:00 am – 8:00 am)
  • Big presentation? 4:00 is your golden hour!
  • Need to learn something new? Your peak learning hours are between 3pm and 9pm
  • Do more research or firm up important plans between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm

Now, start focusing on the process of decompressing from all your activity…

Sleep-challenged because you can't relax? Yoga can help lower your blood pressure.

An illustration of a brown-skinned woman in yellow yoga outfit sits cross-legged with arms extended, on black background.

10 pm just happens to be the perfect time for Dolphins to lower elevated cortisol levels and blood pressure by practicing some yoga. Here are three additional tips Dolphins can use to create an effective nighttime relaxation ritual…

3 Tips to help Dolphins de-stress before bed

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re a Dolphin, it’s time to get serious about de-stressing! Otherwise, you’re just going to keep losing sleep.

Dolphins are notorious for ruminating. Do you lay awake worrying about tomorrow, or fixating on results of past actions? Are there things you just can’t let go of?

Wellness brand Inside Then Out offers products to help you create simple new habits that bring about positive results. Here’s a great one for Dolphins…

1. The interactive approach to journaling

Work through your “what-if? s” and more with a daily guided journal that offers prompts to help you explore and resolve all your worries. One reviewer calls ITO’s Better Every Day Journal “the most cost-effective form of therapy.”

You’ll find this journal and 25 other wellness and feel-good items from pampering—to nutrition—to sleep (including SoundOff earbuds) in Healthing You’s Top Health and Wellness Gifts for the Holidays.

2. Take a deep breath

It’s amazing how much stress can be released by just breathing mindfully. If you’re in the majority, you’re taking in short, shallow breaths that leave you feeling anxious and without energy. You need bigger, deeper breaths you can feel in your belly.

Web MD offers some helpful breathing techniques that take very little time but have big benefits for your sleep and health.

3. Ease your anxious mind with the #1 way most people choose to relax

There are many effective relaxation techniques you can choose when dealing with Insomnia and other sleep disturbances. That said, statistics show the most popular one is meditation.

Meditation helps you reach a deep state of relaxation by removing—or distracting you from—interfering thoughts. With your mind, body and spirit calmed, you can relax more easily and fall asleep more quickly

You can never have too many relaxation techniques

Explore all three of these techniques. Then combine them with your favorite ways of unwinding to continually bolster your sleep and overall health.

Consistently prioritize

No chronotype is completely trouble-free when it comes to sleep—though some of us do have it easier than others. Regardless of your individual sleep drive and sleep challenges, these two key practices are necessary for all of us in improving and maintaining sleep health.

  • Consistency in all sleep-promoting efforts
  • Making and keeping sleep a priority

As always, we look forward to seeing you in a couple weeks—until then, we wish you amazing sleep each and every night!

See you next time…

FAQ about The Dolphin Sleep Chronotype

What is a chronotype?

Your chronotype is the manifestation of your internal clock’s influence on your 24-hour cycle of sleep and daily activities. Working in cooperation with your chronobiology boosts efficiency, allowing you to complete tasks when your energy level is best-suited for that activity.

How can I identify my chronotype?

You can identify your chronotype by taking a free quiz developed by “the Sleep Doctor,” Michael Breus, PhD, available at www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com.

What are the main characteristics of the Dolphin chronotype?

Dolphins are rare, making up 10% of the population. They are generally cautious, driven, intelligent, introverted, nervous, and have a Type A personality. They often avoid risky situations, are detail-oriented, show obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and are perfectionists.

What are the sleep challenges faced by Dolphins?

Dolphins often struggle with sleep due to their driven nature and active minds, causing stress and anxiety. They have difficulty relaxing to fall asleep and may frequently wake up during the night.

How much sleep do Dolphins need?

While 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal for most chronotypes, Dolphins typically require around 6 hours of consistent nightly sleep.

What are some tips for better sleep for Dolphins?

Dolphins should focus on their daily energy patterns, maintain a sleep space free from light and noise disturbances, practice mindfulness, develop a nighttime relaxation routine, and prioritize consistency in their sleep habits.

How can Dolphins manage their energy during the day?

Dolphins should adhere to a consistent wake-up time, engage in morning physical activity, consume the right nutrients, and recognize their peak times for creativity, learning, and task completion.

What relaxation techniques can Dolphins use before bed?

Dolphins can benefit from avoiding screens in the evening, engaging in light conversations, taking warm baths, journaling, reading non-stimulating books, practicing yoga, and using meditation techniques.

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