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How Chronotypes Affect Your Energy  

Our bodies are governed by our circadian rhythm — a 24-hour cycle of sleeping and waking. We also have a chronotype, one of four, that dictates when we’re most sleepy and energetic during the day.  

By discovering which chronotype you are, you can learn how to boost your energy throughout the whole day. 

Your chronotype is your genetic tendency to sleep or be alert within circadian rhythms. A person’s circadian rhythm responds to environmental cues, like light or temperature, and can be trained. Chronotypes can’t be trained and aren’t environment-dependent.  

Chronotype varies from person to person and may change over your lifetime. Knowing your chronotype and your energy patterns can help determine the best time to learn, eat, work out, make decisions and work.  

Below are the four chronotypes and their general characteristics. 


Dolphin chronotypes make up 10% of the adult population. They are light sleepers and tend to not get enough sleep. Their peak productivity time tends to be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are also: 

  • Chronically tired during the day with nervous energy at night.  
  • Light and restless sleepers who tend to wake up multiple times a night.  
  • Have a circadian rhythm that is “turned upside down,” with falling levels of blood pressure and cortisol in the morning — the opposite of the other types. 
  • Tend to have “type A” personalities.  


Wolf chronotypes account for 15%-20% of the adult population. These people tend to have problems getting up in the morning. Their peak productivity is noon to 4 p.m. and then again around 6 p.m. as they are night-oriented. They also: 

  • Tend to be creative, seek new experiences and are emotional. 
  • Have a strong preference for evenings and don’t like to get out of bed before 9 a.m. 
  • Tend to get insufficient sleep, which has negative consequences on their physical and mental health. 


Bear chronotypes make up 50% of the adult population. They tend to wake easily and fall asleep quickly with no problem. They are most productive before noon with a dip in energy from 2-4 p.m. They also:  

  • Adhere most closely to a solar cycle of sleeping and waking. 
  • Have a high sleep drive with the need to sleep deeply, but tend not to get enough sleep. 
  • Tend to be easy-going, social and slightly overweight. 
  •  Are most productive late morning to early evening.  


Lion chronotypes account for 15%-20% of the adult population. They tend to be early risers and are most productive before noon. They also are: 

  • Naturally disciplined and goal-oriented. 
  • Good sleepers with medium sleep needs. 
  • Those who thrive with routine. 
  • Most productive in the morning and early afternoon. 

Learn more about how chronotypes affect your energy in this Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources.    


Photo credit: Getty Images


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