There are 5 Sleep Personas! Which one are you?
Sleep is a personal experience
For a long time, human sleep has remained a mystery. We know it's an important part of our health and the lack of sleep can lead to many negative effects from increased risk of diabetes to heart disease and cancer. But why is it that some people can happily function after 4 hours of sleep while others still feel tired after their recommended 8 hours?
Most people naturally experience different levels of sleepiness and alertness throughout the day, but what causes these patterns? New research is finding the answers to these questions and we are starting to challenge the assumption that sleep is a "one-size-fits-all" phenomenon.
Sleep is very much a personal experience, determined by your environment but also YOUR GENETICS. And at the centre of it is your Master Body Clock.
What is your Master Body Clock?
Your master body clock is your innate timing device. It sits in your brain and makes sure everything in your body runs according to time. Everything in your body, from tissues to organs, need to run on time. This helps them carry out essential functions and processes; from your metabolism and heart function to your digestion.
Your master body clock triggers something called CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioural changes to your body that follow a 24 hour cycle. An example of a circadian rhythm is your "sleep-wake circadian rhythm".
This responds to light and darkness: During the day, light exposure causes the master body clock to send signals that generate alertness and keeps us awake and active. As night falls, the master body clock initiates the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, and then keeps these signals coming that help us stay asleep through the night.
So my sleep is influenced by my circadian rhythms?
Yes! Our sleep patterns are partly determined by our sleep-wake circadian rhythms which in turn are influenced by our master body clock. This means sleep is influenced by our GENETICS!
When properly aligned, a circadian rhythm can promote consistent and restorative sleep. But when our circadian rhythm is thrown off, it means a person can struggle to fall asleep and can wake up during the night. Their total amount of sleep can also be reduced leading to poorer quality sleep. Things that throw off your sleep wake circadian rhythm include jet lag, shift work and irregular sleep schedules.
Scientists have also found that our circadian rhythms vary so greatly between each other and each person has their own personal "sleep wake circadian rhythm", influenced by their own genetic make-up. This brings us onto our Sleep Personas.
What is my Sleep Persona?
Your Sleep Persona is a manifestation of your underlying sleep-wake circadian rhythm. It tells us your natural tendency for feelings of sleepiness or wakefulness during a 24-hour period. (This is also called your Chronotype).
We all have varying feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness at different times of the day. Ever heard of someone being called a morning person? Well this is an example of a morning sleep persona. Their circadian rhythm has been set so that they feel more alert and energetic during the morning.
Based on our latest research, sleep personas can be grouped into five different types: The Lark, The Lion, The Bear, The Owl and The Dolphin:
Here's how these five sleep personas relate to their sleep-wake circadian rhythms:
- Larks and Lions are morning personas
- Bears are "middle of the road" personas
- Owls are evening personas
- Dolphins are difficult sleepers
Why is knowing my Sleep Persona important?
Sleep personas are expressions of your body’s most powerful biological rhythms, which regulate an incredible range of activity and behaviour.
Imagine you go to bed at the end of a busy day because you "feel tired". This may not be the best idea, if your circadian rhythm doesn't set off your sleep until a few hours later. You could find yourself lying in bed, sleepless even though you feel tired. Why not instead, consider going to bed based on your master biological clock?
And it's not just sleep, understanding your sleep persona will help you guide your daily schedule so you are performing at the best of your abilities. You can learn the best time to do a mentally vigorous task or the best time to schedule a creative team meeting.
Take our short quiz today and find out which sleep persona YOU ARE. Learn about your own PERSONAL CIRCADIAN RHYTHM and how you can optimise your performance and sleep for a better life. Click here to take the quiz now.