A sleep expert has revealed how your sleep ‘chronotype’ or personality is causing you to put on weight, and how knowing whether you’re a dolphin, bear, wolf or lion can help to boost your productivity and keep you slim.
Olivia Arezzolo, from Sydney, said ‘chronotypes’ are your sleep profile, and they can be seen as a way of understanding whether you’re biologically geared to rise early or be tired later, or rise later and be tired later.
‘Some 50 per cent of your circadian rhythm tendencies are dictated by genes, and the other 50 per cent are influenced by external factors, such as blue light, stress, exercise and dietary habits,’ Olivia told FEMAIL.
If you know whether you are a wolf, dolphin, bear or lion, you can ‘hack’ your sleep ‘chronotype’ to improve your life.
A sleep expert has revealed how your sleep ‘chronotype’ or personality might be causing you to put on weight (Olivia Arezzolo pictured)
The first sleep chronotype is a wolf, and wolves characteristically function best at night, but are more likely to put on weight (stock image)
What is the recommended SLEEP diet for every type?
BREAKFAST: Berry smoothie with plant-based protein.
LUNCH: Eggs and avocado with spinach.
SNACK: Handful of walnuts and a banana.
DINNER: Baked salmon with salad.
The first sleep chronotype is a wolf, and wolves characteristically function best at night.
‘If wolves could sleep in every morning until 9am, they would,’ Olivia said.
‘Wolves love late nights and can easily stay up until 1am when they are invigorated.
‘Between Netflix, socialising and work, time just seems to disappear for a wolf are dark.’
The sleep expert warned that wolves need to be careful not to over-eat or drink too much at night, as this could lead to unnecessary weight gain and poor sleep.
‘Heavy evening eaters – characteristic of wolves – wake up on average, 11 times more than those who eat lightly,’ she said.
If you are a wolf, try setting an evening cut off for food and alcohol, to give your body time to digest before it rests.
Olivia (pictured) highlighted that Dolphins have ‘no set routine when it comes to their sleep and may snooze for two hours one night and 10 the next’
Dolphins are known as the ‘classic insomniac’ of the four sleep chronotypes.
Olivia highlighted that they have ‘no set routine when it comes to their sleep and may snooze for two hours one night and 10 the next’.
‘Dolphins’ haphazard sleep tendencies extend to daytime too: they periodically have short bursts of high energy, followed by a sudden crash,’ Olivia said.
For this reason, they need to watch their sugar intake as they can often reach for it when feeling low.
‘The dolphin, of any of the chronotypes, is most likely to struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, type 2 diabetes and obesity,’ Olivia said.
If you are a dolphin and feel flat or fatigued, she said you need to opt for some complex carbohydrates or proteins – which will easily help you more than quick-release, sugary carbs.
How does your sleep ‘chronotype’ affect your weight?
Olivia (pictured) said the more evening-oriented you are, the more likely you are to have a higher BMI
* Olivia said that evidence shows the more evening-oriented you are (Wolves and Dolphins), the more likely you are to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).
* Wolves are more likely to stress eat, eat on the run and eat directly from the packet than morning types (like Lions and Bears).
* Wolves also typically have a higher intake of carbs, including sugar.
* Compared to Bears and Lions, Wolves spend 27 minutes less per day being physically active.
* Intake of alcohol is up to eight times higher for Wolves than it is for Lions.
* After 8pm, evening types such as Wolves and Dolphins eat 50 per cent more calories than morning types.
* Eating late, atypical for evening types, means you have a five times greater risk of being overweight or obese.
Lions are like morning larks. Olivia explained that a Lion can ‘easily awaken at 5 or 6am’, but by 10pm, they are ‘absolutely beat’.
‘This sleep chronotype is most productive, alert and energised in the morning,’ Olivia said.
For this reason, of all the sleep personalities, they are the least likely to put on weight.
‘Personality wise, Lions are positive, upbeat and often very health conscious,’ Olivia said.
‘They are also highly intelligent, organised natural-born leaders and love routine.’
To improve your life as a Lion, you could make sure you ‘front-load’ your day with calories and eat less as the day goes on.
‘The old saying breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dine like a pauper has some truth,’ Olivia said.
Bears is the most popular sleep chronotype and accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the population, because their sleep-wake cycle follows the normal solar cycle (stock image)
What are Olivia’s tips to stay healthy?
1. Ensure you allow enough time each night for sufficient sleep, especially if you are an atypically sleep-deprived chronotype, such as a Wolf or Dolphin. Studies show when sleeping 8.5 hours, you have 55 per cent higher fat loss than those sleeping 5.5 hours.
2. Find you chronotype and cater your eating and exercise habits accordingly.
3. Avoid late eating: the thermic effect of food (calories used in digestion) is four per cent lower in the evening compared to morning. This means even if you’re eating the same meal, you’re more likely to gain weight by eating in the evening versus the morning.
Finally, Bears is the most popular sleep chronotype and accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the population, because their sleep-wake cycle follows the normal solar cycle.
‘A typical Bear is likely to rouse from their slumber at around 7am, but they might feel fatigued so they will probably reach for a coffee or two,’ Olivia said.
‘By around 10am, they will start to perk up, and their energy peaks until the late afternoon, when they will face the 3pm slump.’
The 3pm slump can often lead to the consumption of energy drinks, extra milky coffee or sugar – which could be causing weight gain.
Olivia said it pays to be aware if you’re a Bear, and perhaps have something healthy but nourishing on hand that will guide you through the remainder of the working day.
‘Characteristically humble, industrious and hardworking, Bears are the worker bees of our society; they can be counted on to get the job done,’ Olivia said.
‘Bears also enjoy working in teams and take direction well.’
For more information about Olivia Arezzolo, please visit her website here.