Not a Morning Person? You Might Have a “Bear” Chronotype Schedule — Here’s What to Do
Do you need a solid 8 hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed?
Are you tempted to hit snooze a few times when your alarm goes off?
Do you fight the urge to snack all day long?
Are mornings challenging because you’re groggy and cranky, yet people insist on trying to interact with you before you’ve had your coffee?
If you answered yes to most of these statements, then your sleep chronotype (your body’s natural patterns of sleep/activity) most closely resembles the bear. (As opposed to the insomniac dolphin chronotype schedule!)
Congratulations, by the way, you’re in great company: 50-55% of the population falls into this category! Celebrity notables include Oprah, Stephen King, Arianna Huffington, Jeff Bezos and George Orwell.
So what does this mean for you? Well, following your chronotype’s schedule will:
Get you the best sleep
Allow you to take advantage of your natural peak productivity times
Help you dodge the associated pitfalls
First, let’s take a look at your namesake’s typical schedule.
A Day in the Life of a Bear Chronotype
Bears are diurnal, meaning these solar-powered creatures are up with the sunrise and off to bed with the sunset. They slumber deeply, as only an apex predator in a cozy cave can.
Yogi’s exploits aren’t too far off the mark: after a slow start to the day, bears will dedicate most of their time to searching for food. Hunger doesn’t really play a role; a bear will eat as much as it can find. Like hobbits, no self-respecting bear would miss second breakfast or elevenses.
They’re most active in the late morning and early afternoon. But despite those jumbo fangs and massive claws, bears avoid confrontation and just want to focus on doing their bear thing: eating.
Now let’s examine how that translates to your life.
How to Work With Your Chronotype for Optimal Energy
Maintaining a sleep schedule of 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is ideal for bears. Though we usually recommend against it, go ahead and hit the snooze alarm once or twice if you’re able. Since you’ve got to navigate the morning through a groggy haze, you’ll need all the help you can get.
A healthy breakfast will help you shake off the brain fog. But be sure to avoid carbs, which will just make it worse. Opt instead for high-protein fare like eggs, quinoa, yogurt and breakfast meats.
It takes some time for bears to build momentum, so use your morning for busy work and scheduling your day. Save your most important tasks and meetings for 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m., when your energy level is at its peak.
The bear’s foraging instinct is the biggest problem to watch out for. Members of this chronotype are prone to snacking out of boredom, so be sure to keep food out of sight (or replace it with healthier options).
Oh, and before we forget, here are a few other ways to take optimal advantage of your bear chronotype schedule.
Bonus Tips for Bear Chronotypes:
Because of your strong ties to the solar cycle, be sure to get enough natural sunlight during the day. A walk outside in the early afternoon will help to fight that post-lunch slump.
On the weekend, bears tend to sleep in or take long naps to catch up on lost sleep. Compromise with your instincts by sleeping in for 45 minutes just one of the weekend days and keeping your naps to 30 minutes.
A sporadic exercise regimen is another bear chronotype schedule characteristic, so be sure to include workouts in your routine — and stick with them.
In case you’d like to use your bedroom for something other than sleeping, the best times for sex are 7:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m. (hormonally speaking).
Don’t fight those natural urges — work with them to get great sleep, maximize your energy and live your best life!
Take our pop quiz and learn about the history of the different animal sleep types, and tips on getting the most out of your particular animal in our comprehensive article on chronotypes.
Michael Breus, Ph.D., “The Power of When.” Mindworks, Inc., 2016.
“How to Find Your Chronotype to Boost Productivity.” Casper, http://casper.com/blog/chronotype/. 4 Nov. 2020.
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