The Lion Chronotype: Your Ultimate Guide


Written by Dr. Michael Breus

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This page is part of a series on chronotypes — your natural disposition to feel alert or sleepy at certain times. Read more about chronotypes here.
A sleeping lion

Up before the sun? Lions wake the earliest of all chronotypes, often getting up before everyone else. As a lion, you start the day with a burst of energy and are at your most productive before noon. Your energy levels begin to fall in the early evening, so it’s rare to see a lion push bedtime past 10 p.m.  

Although only an estimated 15% of people have the lion chronotype, the world was seemingly built for these cool cats. Most of our daily work, school, and life schedules benefit early risers, but for the performance-focused lion, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. 

Below, we’ll explore how to optimize your daily schedule to match your lion-specific circadian rhythm.

Key Traits: Decisive, Driven, Optimistic, Practical, Aspirational

Key Behaviors: Overachieves, Prioritizes Health and Fitness, Seeks Positive Interactions, Strategizes

Your Best Sleep-Wake Schedule

Lions wake up bright-eyed and energized, typically never sleeping past 6:45 a.m. Lions begin to feel the pull of their den before the sun even starts to go down, so by 1:30 p.m., your peak alertness window is closed and you may start to become mentally fuzzy. Many lions may become desperate for a nap and start to lean on those around them to stay energized. 

Wake up (5:30 – 6 a.m.)
Sleep in (6:45 a.m.)
Take a nap (1:30 p.m.)
Go to bed (10 p.m.)

As soon as the evening light dims, your efficient sleep system tells you it’s time for bed. You can still socialize and nurture your soul into the evening, if you have the energy for it, but for most lions their internal clock has already begun preparing for their 10 p.m. bedtime. 

Lion brain waves are slower and deeper earlier in the night than those of other chronotypes, and some extreme lions may even wake up around 4 a.m., when melatonin levels start to drop. You may not be able to fall back to sleep, and can even struggle with insomnia. Dimming or totally avoiding technology and screens around bedtime can help improve your sleep quality and help you stay asleep throughout the night.

Strategize Your Workday

Lions are early risers. On most mornings, your mind is already racing as soon as the sun comes up. That’s why you are more likely to have the energy for that early morning shift or meeting.

Graph showing lion energy is highest in the morning

Take advantage of your energy and start the day with your most taxing tasks. After 9 a.m. your brain is primed for big picture, strategic thinking. Lions should schedule important meetings, communications and interviews after this time. Around this time your mind is also highly analytical and you will be best equipped to make clear-headed decisions. 

By noon your energy levels will start tapering off. You can avoid the afternoon slump by going out to lunch with coworkers, indulging in a cup of coffee, or taking a walk. Save the afternoon for your lighter tasks, or leverage your creativity by leading a brainstorming session.

Organization and planning (7 – 8 a.m.) 
Creative thinking and problem-solving tasks (8 a.m. – 12 p.m)
Job interviews (9 a.m.)
Important meetings, calls, and emails (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Work lunches (12 – 1 p.m.)
Brainstorming (1 – 3 p.m.) 
Busy work (3 – 5 p.m.)

Better Manage Your Relationships

Lions are morning people, with serotonin levels peaking upon first waking up. While others may not match your morning energy, this is still the best time to be social – whether that’s connecting with your partner, calling your grandparents, or catching up with an old friend.  

Have sex (6 – 7 a.m.)
Call family or friends (7 – 10 a.m.)
Have an important conversation with your partner (9 a.m.)
See your therapist (12 – 1 p.m.)
Spend time with your kids (3 p.m.)

Lions may also notice sexual desire is strongest in the morning, when testosterone levels are highest. It’s the ideal time for lions to enjoy some intimacy and enjoy an early dose of oxytocin. 

Unfortunately, lions can experience difficulties in the evening hours as they tend to have a very early bedtime. It’s recommended that lions capitalize on time with their kids around 3 p.m., before their patience dips and their mood declines.

When to Sip, Snack, and Splurge

In the morning, lions should make time to eat a high-protein, low-carb breakfast that will fuel what will likely be a very busy morning. Because a lion’s energy level starts high, it will gradually decline from midday until bedtime. Push back this energy dip and stay alert by enjoying a mid-morning coffee and snack – or two!

Eat a high-protein breakfast (6 – 7 a.m.)
Have coffee (8 – 10 a.m.)
Snack time (9 a.m.)
Eat a balanced lunch (12 – 1 p.m.)
Have a drink (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.)
Eat a carb-heavy dinner (6 – 7 p.m.)

For lunch, eat a balanced meal rich with nutrients and energy-boosting ingredients. After lunch, prepare for an afternoon slump. This is a physiological battle most lions can’t really win. If possible, treat yourself and eat outside for some extra sunlight and vitamin D exposure. 

Be wary at dinner. A carb-heavy meal will decrease a lion’s already dwindling cortisol level and knock you out. Alcohol will only make you sleepier as well, so try to limit your drink intake to 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. when your energy levels haven’t yet faded too much.

Streamline Your Fitness Goals

Lions wake up with surging cortisol levels. They have a tendency to exercise at dawn because they’re up and ready to roll. Don’t push it, though. Rigorous exercise early in the morning will only increase your cortisol levels and heart rate. Instead, focus on gently attuning the rest of your body through yoga or stretching. 

Practice yoga (8 a.m. or 5 p.m.)
Play a team sport (2 – 4 p.m.)
Strength train (2:30 – 5 p.m.)
Go for a run (5:30 p.m.)

Save the rigorous exercise for the afternoon. This can include playing a team sport, hitting the gym, or even just taking a walk around the block. Since lions often feel a dip in the afternoon, the physical activity will give you an energy surge right when you need it.

Similarly, you can get an energy boost when you’re lagging in the evening by going for a run. Lions are typically overachieving and prioritize health and fitness, so it’s important that lions plan a routine that benefits their schedule as well as their chronotype.

About The Author

Dr. Michael Breus

Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert

Michael Breus, Ph.D is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. He holds a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College, and PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Georgia. Dr. Breus has been in private practice as a sleep doctor for nearly 25 years. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is also the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Good Night!, and Energize!

  • POSITION: Combination Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

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