30 August 2019

Identify and Manage Your Chronotype

By Sport Sleep Coach

Chronotypes are a key part of the R90 Technique, identifying your characteristic and learning to manage it can improve many aspects of your life including sleep, recovery, performance and even mood.

A chronotype describes your sleeping characteristic – whether you’re a morning (Amer) or evening person (Pmer). This not only indicates the times you get up and go to bed, but also the times that your body wants to perform the functions outlined in the circadian rhythms.
 
The circadian rhythms are a 24-hour internal cycle managed by our body clock. This clock regulates our internal systems such as sleeping and eating patterns, hormone production, temperature, alertness, mood and digestion, in a 24-hour process evolved to work in harmony with the Earth’s rotation. Each individual’s body clock is set by internal cues such as daylight, temperature and eating times.
 
Circadian rhythms outline what your body wants to naturally do at various times in the day. A typical Amer’s circadian rhythm would urge them to wake between 6.30am – 7am, whereas a Pmer’s rhythms are running 2-3 hours later, meaning they naturally want to wake around 10am.
 
So, how do you figure out your chronotype?
 
Sleeping characteristics are usually easy to spot. Do you like staying up and going to bed late? Do you need an alarm to get up for work in the morning? Are you partial to a nap in the daytime? Do you often sleep in on your days off? Then it’s likely that you’re a Pmer. Amers wake naturally, enjoy their breakfast and love the mornings. They tend not to need an alarm to wake them, they’re less likely to feel fatigued during the day and they go to bed reasonable early.
 
Now you know your chronotype you can begin to manage it to improve your productivity and wellbeing. For a Pmer, daylight in the morning is vital if you want to set your body clock to play catch up with the Amers. Get a dawn-wake stimulator, open the curtains and go outside. Pmers should also cut out lie-ins at the weekend, if you spend all week adjusting your body clock to the demands of your job, then let it all go at the weekend, you clock will drift back to its natural, slower state. Amers should utilise daylight during the afternoon when they begin to struggle, a daylight lamp at your desk is a good investment.
 
If you have the ability to plan your day, you should keep in mind when you’re going to be the most alert. For Amers this is during the mornings, whilst for the Pmers it’s the afternoon. Try to schedule any important meetings, work or sports performances when you are most alert for improved performance.
 

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