Internal Time: Chronotypes, and the Best Time to Exercise

So there’s been a fair amount of discussion lately about “chronotypes” – what time you should do certain things to maximize the quality of your sleep, the effectiveness of your day, etc. But to demonstrate some of the limitations of online quizzes purporting to tell you all about yourself, I recently took this quiz from @thesleepdoctor (linked by @DrOz):, and it said that I am a “Lion”:

“Lions are conscientious, stable, and practical. They’re overachievers and prioritize their health and positive interactions with people. Lions also tend to find themselves in leadership roles, but may also be introverts, finding it lonely at the top. Lions need to be around a lot of people and have an analytic mind. When it comes to sleep it’s important to you, but you don’t often struggle with it. You sleep deeply, and are satisfied and refreshed with seven hours of rest. You wake up bright-eyed and ready to go.

To maximize your day, make sure to wake up early—this is your productive time. Enjoy a cup of coffee between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., when your cortisol drops a little bit. The best time for you to exercise is after 6 p.m., this will wake you up to power you through the rest of your day as you’re most likely starting to feel sluggish by this time. Last, make sure to get to sleep early, no later than 10:30 a.m. since you wake up so early”.

“The best time for you to exercise is after 6 p.m.,” it says. Um…. not for me, it’s not.

As I explain in my book, “Dr. Ronald Kotler, Medical Director, University of Pennsylvania Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, and author of 365 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep, says that someone who has insomnia is more likely to get better if they are part of an aerobic exercise program. If you are having trouble getting good sleep, exercise (assuming it’s not too close to bedtime) is great because it causes biochemical changes in the brain that promote good, healthy sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.”

As with most things in life, you should take every “expert” opinion (including mine!) with a grain of salt, and that salt should be comprised of equal parts; self-knowledge and common sense.

I know myself, my body, and my habits, and exercising in the morning is absolutely essential to me.

If you receive advice that seems contrary to you, it could be that the advice doesn’t really apply to you.

OR it could be that it’s just the sort of kick-in-the-pants, shake-up-your-routine, try-something-new change that could unlock a whole new side of things. Only you can know that!

Ask yourself, are you reluctant to change because the change is wrong for you, or because it’s RIGHT for you? Either answer is possible! Self-assessment and self-knowledge are some of the essential keys to transformation.

In the end, it’s most important to find a realistic, consistent workout schedule, no matter what the time. If working out in the morning is best for your schedule, eat something light, and make sure to warm up muscles that might be tight and cold from sleep. And to keep afternoon workouts consistent, treat them as unbreakable appointments, find a workout partner, and keep a gym bag in the car or office to minimize excuses.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s the single biggest insight that you’re taking away from this conversation and — most important — how can you make that actionable right now?

Let me know in the comments below.

Share as much detail as possible in your reply. Hundreds of incredible souls come here each week for insight and inspiration and your action step may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

Important: share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments.

Thank you a million times over for reading my work, and for sharing your perspective and experience.

And if anyone you know is committed to turning around their health this year, or simply wants to optimize their energy and say goodbye to stress, please share this post.

Stay Strong,

Laurie

2017-12-21T03:18:00+00:00Fitness, Sleep|7 Comments

7 Comments

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