For activities such as going to sleep, hitting the gym, and having sex with your partner, the “when” is just as important as the who, what, where, why, and how. So goes the premise of clinical psychologist Michael Breus’s new book, The Power of When, which categorizes people based on sleep schedule and personality and helps them identify the optimal times to accomplish certain activities.
Breus was inspired by the “power of when“ after helping a patient radically transform her sleep schedule and overall life satisfaction with a simple two-hour shift. “Most [self-help] books tell you what to do and how to do it, but they don’t tell you when,” said Breus in an interview with Body and Soul. “When is the ultimate life hack. It’s so much easier than trying to overcome an obstacle or changing the way you do something.”
Breus covers 75 different activities in his book, from drinking coffee to exercising, and identifies the prime time for each one depending on your “chronotype,” or your biological clock. These chronotypes are broken up into four categories: dolphin, lion, bear, or wolf. Each of the four has its own time-sensitive recommendations for all 75 activities. Wolves, for example, are “night-oriented, creative, extroverted, and need a medium amount of sleep” while “dolphins are intelligent, neurotic, and light sleepers,” explains Body and Soul. According to Breus, wolves should aim to go to bed around midnight, wake up at 7:30 a.m., run around 6 p.m., and drink coffee between 12 and 2 p.m. in order to maximize life satisfaction.
While his method may seem a bit strange, it’s based on simple biology: “There are certain times when our body is burning calories or producing more oestrogen, so it’s all about using that knowledge so you can perform specific functions at your peak.”
Head over to Body and Soul to see the full list of times for each chronotype, and share your thoughts on Breus’s theory with us.