Ideas and stories from my growth journey. Warning: If you are interested in a casual, comfortable life, this blog will be counterproductive for you.

Which of the 3 Sleep Patterns Is Your Natural One?

People talk about managing time, but we can’t get more time. The real question is, Are you making best use of the time you have? One of the keys to that is having enough energy to engage fully. And one of the most significant—and overlooked—ways to increase your energy is improve your sleep. Tweet This

sleeping traveling family

I’ve spent years reading studies on sleep and experimenting with my own sleep. (It started when our daughter was born and wouldn’t sleep—or let us sleep when she was awake. It’s amazing how interesting something becomes when you can’t have it.) There’s a lot we could discuss about getting great sleep.But in this post I’m going to focus on an aspect of sleep many people have never heard of.

It turns out that there are three natural sleep patterns and we’re all wired to follow one instinctively. We can make ourselves follow another pattern (and many of us do) but when external pressures are removed (like when we’re on vacation) we will slide back into our natural pattern. It’s like a personality type—an introvert can learn to speak loudly and act aggressively, but that’s not their instinct.

And even more important for today’s topic, we have more energy when we work with our sleep natural pattern rather than fight it. Tweet This While an introvert can become skilled at shouting, it exhausts them.

The three generic patterns are…

Early Morning (studies say about 10% of people are wired for this)

  • Preferred wake up time: 5-6am
  • Preferred go to bed time: 8-9pm
  • Peak energy window: immediately upon waking until 11am-12pm

Mid-Morning (studies say about 70% of people are wired for this)

  • Preferred wake up time: 7-8am
  • Preferred go to bed time: 10-11pm
  • Peak energy window: starts an hour after waking and lasts until 12-1pm

Late Night (studies say about 20% of people are wired for this)

  • Preferred wake up time: 10-11am
  • Preferred go to bed time: 2-3am
  • Peak energy window: 9pm-1pm

Which most describes you? Again, we can all live at any pattern. I’m a night owl but I’m writing this post at 6am. I don’t want to miss mornings with my kids so I currently live outside my natural pattern. But when I’m on vacation, I slide to later and later nights—and later and later mornings. And my brain is on fire late at night when I’m rested.

Leadership is about investing energy—in other people, in other projects, in making tough decisions. Relationships require energy. If you want to increase your influence, consider increasing the quality and quantity of your energy. Tweet This

One way to do that is to find your natural sleep pattern and work with it. So plan for your most demanding work to be at your peak energy time. Oh, and 95% of us—no matter what our pattern—need an afternoon nap around 3:00-3:30pm. So don’t plan any big conversations, creative sessions, etc for that window, if you can help it!

photo credit: Tired Travellers – Koh Hong – Travelling with the Fujifilm X100T via photopin (license)

Scott WozniakWhich of the 3 Sleep Patterns Is Your Natural One?
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