Get to know your sleep animal to time your workouts, meals, and more


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Photo: Getty Images/Igor Ustynskyy

A few weekends ago, I learned that a raccoon is my animal. No, I don’t dig through the trash! No, I don’t carry rabies! The ring-eyed forager supposedly symbolizes artistry, tenacity, and skillfulness. Not only do I now have a higher opinion of the nocturnal creature, I’ve since discovered that we all have sleep-specific animals as well, according to Michael J. Breus, PhD, also known as “The Sleep Doctor.” Like the hidden depth of the raccoon, each eventide critter—bear, wolf, lion, dolphin—has many a hidden meaning for your personality.

The chronotype quiz concocted by Dr. Breus identifies your unique biological clock, or chronotype in about 90 seconds (the website says 45, but I’m here to tell you it will take longer). You’ll answer questions about your favorite meal of the day, whether you sleep with an alarm, and your history with insomnia. Once you’re assigned to an animal chronotype group, the site directs you to a video of Dr. Breus explaining your super-secret sleep identity. I’m a shape-shifting raccoon by day and a bear by night. What are you?

Are you a bear, lion, wolf, or dolphin? Take this quiz to find out

Bear: About 50 percent of the population

Personality: According to Dr. Breus, a bear is an outgoing, “team-player.” Their people skills are on-point, so they make great managers.

Diet: Just like Winnie the Pooh—the most accurate cartoon portrayal of all bears—they like to graze for food throughout the day (with to-go honey pots and other snacks).

Exercise tendencies: They may or may not be committed to sweat gains, notes the doctor.

Sleep: “Bears like to get their seven to eight hours, but they’ll hit snooze a few times in the morning,” the doc explains.

Famous bears: Stephen King, Ellen Degeneres, Ariana Huffington

Lion: About 15-20 percent of the population

Personality: “They’re optimistic goal-setters and get-it-done people,” says Dr. Breus. He adds that they’re also leaders with analytical minds. They often take on leadership positions, but they don’t take risks.

Diet: Lions are mindful of watching their indulgences. Instead, they’re on the prowl for protein, fiber, fruits, and veggies.

Exercise tendencies: Your friend who never stops talking about CrossFit or their upcoming ultra-marathon is probably a lion. These individuals love conquering challenges fit for predators.

Sleep: They wake up early, raring to take on the day.

Famous lions: Maya Angelou, Benjamin Franklin, Kevin Johnson

Wolf: About 15-20 percent of the population

Personality: People describe wolves as fearless, Dr. Breus explains. They view the world through an intuitive lens and they’re totally fine with being awake when most people are deep in their dreams. Risky situations are where they feel most at home, so they’ll often act on impulse. You’ll find them working in creative fields like the arts.

Diet: “Although they’re never hungry in the morning, they become ravenous after dark,” says the sleep expert. They like to snack until the wee hours of the morning.

Exercise tendencies: Dr. Breus tells Bright Side might want to save their gym sessions for after work. Beforehand, a short walk can help them wake up to the (disappointing) fact that they need to be up when the sun is to make a living.

Sleep: They sleep in after a night full of adventures.

Famous lions: Mark Twain, Barack Obama, Bill Gates

Dolphin: About 10 percent of the population

Personality: Dolphins tend to have Type A personalities. They’re highly intelligent perfectionists who may often be stressed and anxious. At work, they’re fiercely independent and excel at problem-solving.

Diet: “They’re usually eat-to-live types with a naturally fast metabolism,” Dr. Breus explains.

Exercise tendencies: Some stick to their exercise routines loyally. Some don’t feel they need to because they have such a high metabolism.

Sleep: Dolphins rarely wake up feeling fully rested. When the evening comes, however, they may suddenly experience a burst of energy. They also wake up sporadically throughout their REM cycles to worry.

Famous lions: William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Richard Branson

Now that you know where you fall in the animal kingdom, here’s the verdict on whether or not a mattress can help you sleep better. And why your daily work schedule might be contributing to sleepless nights

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