The Lion Sleep Chronotype
Despite their enviable chronorythmic advantages—and larger than life personalities—the “rulers of the jungle” are not excepted from sleep or social challenges. Our second archetype close-up in the Individual Chronotypes series, looks at some issues the Lion Sleep Chronotype will find exasperating—we’ll also offer some general guidance all chronotypes can use. If you’re a Lion though, you probably want to get straight to the point—so just a quick overview—and then on to some sleep tips for frustrated Lions…
Chronotype recap for Newcomers
Some of us awaken easily at the crack of dawn and attack our days with fervor (Good morning, Lions!) Others of us attempt to wear out the snooze button on our alarm clocks. Some of us get up but can’t function… and then there are those who simply cover their heads and get up when their bodies tell them to—which may be mid-morning or even noon.
The preference we have for the time we get up in the morning is just one of many DNA traits that make up our individual Chronotype. This chronobiology dictates not only our sleep/wake patterns, but also our energy and productivity levels throughout the day.
Left to their own devices, any one of the chronotype archetypes could find themselves engaging in behaviors that compromise their health, productivity, and relationships.
However, more of us are waking up to the importance sleep plays in our overall health and quality of life, and while chronotypes are still a relatively new concept for many, we’re not on our own here…
In his book, ‘The Power of When,’ sleep specialist Dr Michael Breus helps people identify their individual chronobiology. He then shows them how to work in cooperation with their chronotype to get better sleep and more effectively manage all the other functions that make up their daily schedule.
Is the Lion your Chronotype?
If you don’t know your Chronotype, discover it by taking this free quiz developed by “the Sleep Doctor,” Michael Breus, PhD. You’ll receive an email with your Chronotype along with a few pertinent facts and useful tips you can start using right away.
Not a Lion? There are still some good basic tips for you in this post so don’t go away!
Check out this post if it turns out you’re a Dolphin—and if you’re a Bear or Wolf, be sure to come back in the next few weeks for your Chronotype tips.
Or… sign up to receive our twice-monthly blog to make sure you don’t miss important sleep tips in future posts.
There are no absolutes. As you explore your chronotype, don’t be surprised if you find particular habits or personality traits assigned to another archetype. You may speculate you’re a Lion when you’re really an “early Bear.” Or you may, in fact, be a “hybrid.” Learn more by taking the Quiz above and signing up for the Sleep Doctor’s free newsletter to receive regular sleep advice.
Lion Chronotype Characteristics
Lions make up 15-20% of our population. These characteristics are associated with the Lion Chronotype…
- Natural Leaders
- Seek positive interactions
Lion Sleep Challenges
Unlike some other chronotypes, the Lion’s natural tendency toward organization and following schedules serves their sleep well. This allows Lions to be full of early-morning vigor, able to pounce on tasks and get them out of the way when their energy is at its’ peak.
Though naturally good sleepers, Lions can run into trouble in several areas that affect both their sleep and productivity. This brings frustration as these overachievers find any inefficiency difficult to tolerate. It also must be said that Sleep Tips for Frustrated Lions wouldn’t be complete without addressing the Lion’s compromised social life.
The impact their early-to-bed schedule has on their ability to interact socially can be a great source of frustration and discontent. Lions need to address these frustrating issues as unchecked frustration often leads to anxiety—a common cause of Insomnia.
5 Sleep Basics for all Archetypes
It’s important for all of us to understand when our bodies are best-suited to perform different actions throughout the day—believe it or not, a good night’s sleep begins when you wake up in the morning. If you’re new to this idea, here are some basic tips to help every archetype get started…
#1. Begin by getting to know your Chronobiology
When does your energy level peak? When is it easiest to tackle a difficult task? What time do you start to feel sleepy? Do you wake up feeling rested? Keeping a notebook or a sleep journal will be helpful along your journey to better sleep.
#2. Make sure to use up enough energy during the day
This allows you to be tired enough to fall asleep at night. Lions are good at this. Their driven, disciplined natures—and focus on fitness—help ensure their energy stores are pretty well used up by the end of their day. In fact, they’re usually spent by the time some of us are just getting started.
#3. Budget enough time for sleep
Practicing “mindfulness” throughout your day is a key component in getting the rejuvenating sleep you need to fuel you through your daily schedule. If you think sleep is something to fit in when it’s convenient—if it’s something you just do after you’ve done everything else you need to do—it’s time for a re-think.
#4. Establish a wind-down routine and stick to it
Our lives are full of challenges throughout the day and sometimes it’s hard to leave the day behind when we settle into bed. Begin a nightly routine to help your mind and body reach a state of relaxation before bed—and make sure to follow through with it every night.
#5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of eating right and getting enough exercise in past posts but today I want to stress the benefits of proper hydration. The Sleep Doctor recommends getting a head start on your hydration by consuming water first thing in the morning and waiting 90 minutes before indulging in your first cup of coffee. This will help you to experience better energy.
Maintaining a proper level of hydration during the day can also help you avoid muscle and leg cramps at night. Additionally, it will stave off migraines that prevent sleep. Of course, you’ll want to taper off on the fluids in the hours before bed so you’re not waking up during the night to go to the loo.
Lions start running out of energy around 1:00 pm. When they work with their individual Chronotype, it helps them manage their energy levels and improve productivity.
Basic Productivity Tips for All
Many of us have habits that sabotage our best efforts. Instead of easing our stress and helping us navigate smoothly through our busy days, we sometimes only manage to get in our own way.
Here are 4 Positivity Routines to improve daily productivity…
#1. Focus on one thing at a time
It’s easy to get distracted by other tasks—or our wandering minds—and this is one of the surest ways to decrease productivity. Monotasking will ensure you get more done. Bonus Tip: Make focusing easier with SoundOff earbuds. Our pink noise will help calm and re-focus your mind so you can zip through your tasks with no distractions.
#2. Learn to manage your energy
If you think you can solely rely on time management skills to manage your days, it’s time to flip your script. Time is fixed—you really have no control over it. You do, however, have a degree of control over your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy expenditure. Take a tip from Harvard Business Review and start managing your energy rather than your time.
#3. Take breaks—or even naps—when you need them
Dr. Breus dedicates 6 pages in the ‘Power of When’ to napping and there’s a good reason for that. Afternoon energy dips are the body’s way of telling you your batteries need to re-charge. And like everything else we do, our Chronotypes dictate right and wrong times to take our regenerative breaks.
The Sleep Doctor’s nap recommendations for the different archetypes are based on the Nap Wheel developed by cognitive neuroscientist Sara Mednick, PhD.
For Frustrated Lions with a wake-up time of 6:00 am, he recommends an ideal naptime of 1:30 pm.
Napping can improve cognitive function, creativity and overall productivity for most of the Chronotypes (when done at the right time, for the right length of time.) There’s a caveat however…
*No naps for Dolphins. For sleep-challenged Dolphins, the Sleep Doctor has concluded: “they do more harm than good”.
#4. Make the most of your down time.
Sure, you can use your breaks to check your phone messages or your favorite shopping site—but two better options are movement and meditation. A 5-minute walk will benefit both your mind and body. A meditation break will do the same, while helping keep you in that “mindfulness” mindset.
Lions are up at the crack of dawn. While other Chronotypes are still asleep, Lions are usually already at the office–seizing the day!
How Lions Seize the Day
When 80% of the world is asleep, the Lions are waking to a mostly silent world. They awaken at the same time, day after day—even on weekends—typically without using an alarm clock. And their brains are not even fuzzy—I ask you, is that fair?
Truth is, while Lions may have a leg up on some of us by getting a head start every day, they’re bound by their biological schedules and are more or less slaves to their efficient natures. This might not sound so appealing to the easy-going Bear—who also rises early and likes to get things done—but much prefers to ease into their day.
And while that silent world means a quiet environment where one can actually hear themselves think, Lions may find themselves frustrated with no one to bounce ideas off of at 5 am.
Less Stressful Productivity
Lions like things done right, and on schedule. As a group, they’re largely seen as successful and intelligent. But are they smarter than everyone else? No, and yes. While Lions IQs are not necessarily higher, they excel at making the most of their natural gifts. That alone makes them pretty smart. They’ll go the extra mile… do the extra credit assignment—and will always expect the best efforts from themselves and others.
Now that last part is where things can get sticky. The world isn’t perfect and none of us in it are either. Goal-oriented Lions can easily become frustrated when things don’t quite go as planned. They need to manage their daily schedules for maximum productivity and minimum stress.
The Lion Chronotype is at their peak from 11:00 am–1:00 pm. If they have a meeting to run, 11:30 is a great time to pull the team together!
A Good Day for a Lion
Rise and shine! Be sure to eat a high protein/low carb meal within 30 minutes. Then hydrate with 2 glasses of water.
Go ahead and shower—you won’t be working out since the best time for Lions to exercise is early evening.
Early AM is a good time for Lions to reflect on life’s big-picture issues. Set aside a half hour for to-do lists and making short or long-term plans—wrap this time up with a short period of quiet meditation.
8:00 am happens to be a perfect time for Lions to practice yoga—think about giving it a try—it’s a good way to limber up for your day.
Now get cracking on your tasks.
Coffee can provide a cognitive boost for Lions if you wait until you’ve been up for 3 hours—Ideally, all coffee should be cut off no later than lunchtime.
If you’re feeling noshy, have a 250-calorie snack that’s ¼ protein and ¾ carbs.
Need to meet with the Troops? You’re at your peak mid-morning until noon—this is when your critical thinking is most clear—making it the best time for strategic decisions.
Enjoy a balanced lunch between 12:00—1:00
Spend some of your lunch break outside in the sunshine to get an energy boost.
Lions start to fade between 1:00—5:00 pm. No shame in that—by 1:00, many Lions have already put in an 8-hour day. Use this time to brainstorm with colleagues—or let your creative thoughts flow freely into your journal.
If you need a nap, take one at 1:30.
5:30 pm is the perfect time for a run. It will help maintain your fitness focus—it will also provide an energy boost which can improve your social interactions.
Eat dinner at 6:00. Remember to choose your meal wisely as it will affect the rest of your night:
A plate of pasta will make you lethargic or put you to sleep.
Protein can provide prolonged energy for more socializing time.
Eating light keeps blood sugar low and prevents an energy crash.
One drink in the evening is ok—make sure to have it between 5:30 and 7:30 to avoid sleep disruptions and hangovers.
If dinnertime was lacking any social engagement, reach out and connect with friends or family via phone. Pleasant conversation is a great way to start your evening wind-down routine.
Now retire your tech gadgets for the night to avoid blue light sleep interference.
Read a paper book, write in your journal, take a bath—whatever will help you release any tension or anxiousness.
10:30? It’s past your bedtime—go to sleep!
3 Final Sleep Tips for Frustrated Lions
#1. You basically won the sleep lottery—use it wisely.
Keep to your sleep/wake-up schedule so you can continue to enjoy maximum sleep and health benefits. If you’re socially frustrated and want to be able to interact more by altering your sleep schedule, take advantage of the helpful program for Lions in ‘The Power of When’.
Dr Breus will safely guide you through small incremental changes you can slowly implement over the course of a month—so you don’t throw your sleep cycle into chaos.
#2. Frustration and Sleep can be bi-directional—avoid getting into a negative loop.
If you’re a frustrated Lion, make sure you understand exactly where that frustration is coming from and start taking steps to resolve it before it affects your health. PsychCentral recommends prioritizing sleep as a key step in managing frustration levels. According to one large study, stress may result from sleep durations less than five hours. And of course, we know that higher levels of stress lead to increased sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction.
Simply put, you want to avoid this negative loop. And you can—thanks to your natural determination, optimism, and ability to succeed in pretty much anything you put your mind to. Remember to utilize these additional ways of managing frustration as well:
- Power Naps
#3. The most prevalent sleep concern among Lions is what their sleep schedule does to their social life.
Again, you have natural traits and more options than you think to achieve more satisfying social interaction…
- Get to know your Chronotype to help you extend your energy reserves.
- You may not have as much time as you would like to spend with others—but make the most of that time when it is available to you. Extend your mindfulness practices to ensuring quality time with friends and family.
- You are not the only Lion on the planet. There are others like you who have no one to talk to at 5:00 am—and no one to dine with at 5:00 pm. Find a few kindred spirits who share your bio-schedule, and they’ll likely share your other interests—like keeping fit and making great things happen—and you won’t have to fight about the schedules. And if it turns out there are territorial issues… well, that’s just one more challenge you’re well-equipped to deal with.
Hope all of you are finding useful tips in our Chronotype Series! Keep on learning—working in cooperation with your chronotype can revolutionize your sleep—and your productivity levels.
Be consistent with the changes you make to improve your sleep and health… and remember to always make sleep a priority!
Look forward to seeing you here again soon. Meanwhile…
Wishing you all peaceful, rejuvenating sleep!
Until next time…
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