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Embrace Your Chronotype

by DR. FRANK LIPMAN & NEIL PARIKH

Even though we all have an innate 24-hour rhythm, not all of our rhythms are the same. The clearest example of this is the fact that some of us identify as early risers who feel their best when getting up with the sun, while others peak in the deeper hours of the evening. Whether you’re in the first group, the second group, or somewhere in between depends on your “chronotype,” or your genetically programmed preferences for sleeping and waking during a 24-hour period. Choosing a sleep-wake schedule that takes your chronotype into account will help you arrive at a rhythm that supports when you’re naturally inclined to sleep, wake up, and perform.

You’re a Lark If … (about 20 percent of people)

You’re an Owl If … (about 20 percent of people)

You Could Also Be a Hummingbird (about 60 percent of people)

Can You Hack Your Chronotype?

We get it— there’s a distinct advantage to being a Lark. Because of how our society is set up, namely early start times for work and school, Larks tend to get better sleep, and by extension, be healthier and less prone to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It’s hard to be an Owl in a Lark’s world. But even though your chronotype is built into your genes, it’s technically adjustable.

In fact, chronotypes change for all sorts of reasons— the seasons, age, latitude, consistent exposure to bright light at night, and shifting attitudes (commonly the teenage creed: early bedtimes are for little kids). But it’s not always for the better — after all, it’s a piece of your unique physiology. That’s why we recommend first assessing your DNA-determined chronotype and perhaps finding a way to embrace that natural rhythm. However, if it better suits your lifestyle, you can adjust your chronotype—something we’re in favor of if it ultimately means you’ll get more sleep. Just be sure you’re being consistent and committing to this new schedule long- term. Otherwise, you risk self-inflicting social jet lag (page 68) and sending your sleep rhythm into a tailspin.

Tips for Shifting Your Chronotype

If You’rea Lark:

If You’re an Owl:

If You’re a Hummingbird:

 

Excerpted from BETTER SLEEP, BETTER YOU. Copyright © 2021 by Frank Lipman, MD & Neil Parikh. Used with permission of Little, Brown Spark, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

For more of Dr. Frank Lipman’s wellness insight, visit: ‘Dr. Frank Lipman’s 6 Easy and Uplifting Rules for Aging Well’

 

 

 

DR. FRANK LIPMAN & NEIL PARIKH

Frank Lipman, MD, is a pioneer and internationally recognized expert in the fields of Integrative and Functional Medicine and a best-selling author. He is the founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center and Chief Medical Officer of The-Well, both in New York City.  Dr. Lipman received his initial medical training in South Africa and emigrated to the United States in 1984. He became board certified in internal medicine after serving as Chief Medical Resident in his final year of residency at Lincoln Hospital in New York City. He is a best selling author of 6 books, including The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body WellnessHow To Be Well, The 6 keys to a Happy and Healthy Life; and The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program for Immune Resilience, Strength, and Vitality. To learn more visit drfranklipman.com.

Neil Parikh is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Casper, the world’s first sleep brand that dominates global e-commerce in addition to having 20 Sleep Shops across North America and selling at retailers such as Target and Hudson’s Bay. Casper has sold mattresses to over a million consumers, with sales topping $400 million in 2018. This year, Casper officially joined the unicorn club, with a valuation exceeding $1 billion. As the son of a sleep doctor, Neil has been perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between the science of sleep and the realities of the sleep industry. He was accepted to medical school at 17, worked on robotics at NASA (where he co-authored 3 patents), and in 2014 launched Casper.

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