Blog
Stories of Sound
and Sleep:

Rewrap the Gift

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Our holiday traditions around giving and receiving are due for a redux. Here are our tips.

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Sing to Me: The Power of the Human Voice

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s time to warm up those vocal cords. How singing and being sung to have kept us surviving.

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Object Story: The Safety Razor

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Why a 120-year-old razor is still the one you want to use.

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OneClock Reads: Super Normal

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

In Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary designers Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fakasawa draw our attention to the phenomenon of everyday objects.

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Meet the Team: Jamie Kripke's Studio of Life

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Artist, cyclist, skier, and OneClock co-founder, Jamie Kripke brings the same curiosity and creative energy to everything he does.

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Meet the Team: Howie Rubin's Architecture of Experience

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Experiential marketing aficionado Howie Rubin on music, design, clocks, and living life to its fullest by slowing down.

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OneClock / Wake Up Better

  • Jamie

No good clocks were harmed in the making of this film.

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Something About Nothing

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Three books for resisting the attention economy and restoring a mindful life.

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In Your Dreams

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Humans spend several years dreaming, yet this phenomenon remains mysterious in both purpose and meaning.

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Object Lessons

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

What the world of touch teaches and tells us.

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Get Up!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Tune your body and mind with some Valentine’s Day morning sex. Or, why we recommend getting down while waking up.

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Introducing...Captain Planet!

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

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OneClock Anthem Video

  • Jamie

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How Do You Sleep at Night?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Your chronotype determines when and how well you sleep, and much about how you feel while awake—but few people know what theirs is, or how to live in harmony with it.

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Jon Natchez on Writing Music for OneClock

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Composer and musician Jon Natchez shares insights and inspirations for OneClock’s initial seven waking tracks.

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A New Way for the New Year

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

It’s that time again! The New Year invites us to set intentions for self-improvement and change. Here’s how you can best prepare for a successful refresh.

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A Guaranteed Audience of One

  • Jamie

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Buy Nothing, Sleep In / Thoughts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

As the Black Friday alarm rings at its early hour, we invite you to make a new ritual of sleeping in. And then, once you wake up? Go sit and have coffee with your mom, dad, kids, neighbor, or dog. Watch the sun travel across the kitchen window. Appreciate. Connect. Make it a thing.

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OneClock // 1 minute waking music samples

  • Jamie

Listen to 60 second samples of the 7 waking compositions that Jon Natchez created for OneClock.

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It’s About Time: The Magic of a Meaningful Morning

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The quiet of morning is beloved by the creative mind. Find out how you can wake up gently, establish a daily ritual, and reclaim the magic of morning with the help of OneClock.

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Fitter, Happier, More Productive?

  • Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

The near constant use of technology in contemporary life can be overwhelming, affecting our health and relationships. Use a less-is-more approach to find physical, mental, and emotional balance in a world dominated by devices.

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1000 True Fans

  • Jamie

Assorted feedback from the first few OneClock owners.

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Jon Natchez Launch Concert

  • Jamie

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez created some music to celebrate our 2/2 launch.

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Video: Behind the Music

  • Jamie

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Product before price

  • Jamie

We set out to make exactly what we wanted, not what the market wanted. The price is what it is because that’s where the price ended up once we'd designed the clock we wanted.

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The Snooze Button is your Frenemy

  • Jamie

If you find the idea of quitting the Snooze button intimidating, look at it this way: Snoozing does not equal sleeping. Snoozing is a sad, stressful imitation of real sleep.

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Scaring Yourself Awake

  • Jamie

From the adrenal gland’s point of view, there’s no difference between the shock of that blaring alarm and the sight of an incoming tsunami. And why would you want to start your day like that?

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A Brief History of Alarm Clocks

  • Jamie

It seems clear that the need for alarm clocks will never go away. But if the 1787 version of the U.S. Constitution can be amended 27 times, can’t we evolve our alarm clocks, too?

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Threat Vigilance, your Smartphone, and why you can’t sleep

  • Jamie

Many of us use our phones as our alarm clocks. It’s simple and easy and it works. But when you bring your smartphone to bed with you, you’re also bringing that fiendish little source of stress into your bedroom, too.

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All Posts

How Do You Sleep at Night?

What’s Your Chronotype?

Most likely, it’s a question you haven’t been asked at the bar.

However, our chronotype—sometimes called our internal or biological clock, sometimes our circadian rhythm—affects us deeply, determining when and how well we sleep, as well as the peaks and valleys of energy we experience throughout the day. Waking up more tired than when you went to bed? Always reaching for a 3pm espresso? Better check your chronotype.

Your chronotype is in your genes—your PER3 gene, to be exact. The length of your PER3 gene controls when and how much melatonin is released in the body (a key component of chronotype), but it’s responsible for more than just setting your unique sleep-wake cycle. It also influences your hormone levels, metabolic function, and body temperature, all of which work together to keep you regulated. 

And, while there are ways to adjust and simulate our body’s responses to daily factors—like using a phototherapy “happy” light, taking melatonin supplements, and yes, drinking copious amounts of caffeine—there’s no overwriting biology.

A surefire sign that you’re working against the clock? If you feel hyped and addled when you try to hit the hay, and fatigued and glum when it’s time to make it, you’re probably not properly synced. Also, waking up five times in between means you’re a dolphin. But more on that later.

Resetting the Clock

Many of us live at odds with our chronotype, and not by choice. In fact, what neuroscientist Till Roenneberg (who started studying the biological clock at age 17, when most of us were sleeping in) calls “circadian desynchrony” is so widespread it’s become the norm.

How did we wind up so out of whack? Lightbulbs. The advent of artificial lighting created a world where people could be made to rise and shine at any time. Unlike in agrarian societies—where workdays were determined by the sun, moon, and season—modern industrial life now runs on a time clock that doesn’t take much consideration of diurnal and seasonal shifts, let alone personal nuances within them. So, a night owl for whom it may feel perfectly natural to stay up with the darkening sky (thanks to a later release of melatonin) is nonetheless expected at their desk by 8am. 

While a New York Times article from 2018 reported employers and educators were beginning to look more closely at how individualized, chrono-synchronous schedules benefit productivity and performance, as well as enhance their subjects’ sleep, it took nothing short of a global pandemic to push the mainstream adoption of flexible office hours (time will tell if it sticks).

“When you don’t sleep at the time your body wants to sleep—your so-called biological night—you don’t sleep as well or as long,” writes Times reporter Emily Laber-Warren, “setting the stage not only for fatigue, poor work performance and errors but also health problems ranging from heart disease and obesity to anxiety and depression.” The cited statistic of workers estimated to be operating with a mismatch? 80%.

Before you remedy this misalignment, you have to know who you are. Popular typology systems you likely know a little something about might include your astrological sign, Enneagram number, Myers-Briggs type, maybe even your Hogwarts house. While those are all useful and provocative ways of knowing yourself and others, isn’t it time to show your chronotype a little love? It could really change your day.

Lions, Dolphins, Bears, Oh My!

You can find several quizzes on the internet that will help determine your chronotype, or at least help you learn about the main types in broad strokes. These quizzes ask questions about what time of day you feel most or least mentally alert, physically energized, hungry, productive, and, of course, sleepy.

Many scientists refer to this range as the morningness–eveningness scale, with the proverbial early bird and night owl perched at either end.

Michael J. Breus, PhD, aka “The Sleep Doctor,” identifies four main chronotypes and also likens them to animals, albeit none that are feathered. Bears are the most even-keeled of the bunch, getting a regularly scheduled 7–8 hours of nightly slumber; Lions are optimistic and analytical with up-and-at-em sensibilities; Wolves prowl and snack ravenously in solitude by moonlight; and Dolphins can’t stop swimming through self-inflicted mental hoops long enough to establish a stable REM cycle. 

Once you’ve self-selected into the animal kingdom, you can start making lifestyle shifts that are simpatico with your sleep needs (though that dolphin stuff is admittedly a really hard nut to crack). While chronotypes are genetically determined, they can and probably will change with age—unsurprisingly, you can’t rush this process so it’s better to adapt your schedule to your body than vice versa.

To the best of your ability, rework your day so that you’re able to rest not only when you need it, but when it comes easiest. If you have the luxury of choice, work in industries and for employers that understand, respect, and allow alternatives to the typical 9–5. If your schedule is locked-in, make sure you tackle to-dos when your energy is at its highest. And when you’re dragging, look to get a boost from natural stimulants that won’t mess with your melatonin cycle too much—like taking a walk or doing a ten-minute meditation.

The End of Alarms

Many chronotype experts say that if you need to rely on an alarm clock to get up, you’re in trouble. It’s a funny thing, then, for us clock makers to encourage a way of living—one with better sleep, better waking, and a lot more health—that would bring about our own obsolescence. But that’s just who we are.

Want to hear more?

OneClock founder Jamie Kripke asks OneClock’s resident sleep scientist, Josiane Broussard, PhD, nearly every question under the stars