Whether you’re a morning person or someone who hits the snooze button no less than five times before emerging from bed, everyone could use a few tips to enhance their a.m. routines. But not all people are wired the same way — which is why there’s such a bevy of contrasting sleep habits, energy levels, and individual needs with seemingly limitless advice to optimize each.
Recommendations are often dictated by personality traits, habits, or general bedtime preferences. For many people, morning routines are guided by motivations, whether to get the most out of the early hours, observe the world while it’s tranquil, or just drink great coffee.
This is where understanding your Enneagram personality type could help. Enneagram personalities are determined in large part by motivations. Enneagram types have been used to explain how people may react in social situations, work environments, and romantic relationships. But knowing your Enneagram number could help benefit your morning routine, too.
As co-director and teacher at The Enneagram Group, Michael Norton provides insights into these automatic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. If you don’t know your number, anyone can take an Enneagram test on The Enneagram Group’s website to identify which of the nine types best describes them, accompanied by a comprehensive chart that delves a bit deeper into what their results mean.
What is an Enneagram type, and what does it imply?
So what is an Enneagram type anyway?
An Enneagram is one of nine ways that explain how and/or why a person may think, feel, or act in many of life’s most common situations. It recognizes and describes patterns in behaviors, particularly around how people interpret the world, manage their emotions, and subsequently react, focusing especially on general fears and desires.
“The first point in working with the Enneagram is to recognize we are not our personalities,” stresses Norton. “Our Enneagram type is a kind of mask or a series of masks we wear over our true selves.”
Here are the nine Enneagram types, defined by type number and nickname:
Type One: The Reformer
Type Two: The Helper
Type Three: The Achiever
Type Four: The Individualist
Type Five: The Observer
Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Type Eight: The Challenger
Type Nine: The Peacemaker
No one type is better than the others. Each can reveal a “distinct set of underlying beliefs and motivations that result in habits of mind and emotion.” Ultimately, interpreting these patterns is said to deepen self-awareness and aid in developing a greater understanding and compassion for others.
How Enneagram types and sleep correlate
Little research has been conducted to investigate the association between sleep habits and Enneagrams. However, experts like Norton can take what we know about each type and apply it to practically every aspect of our lives.
“Sleep is a very unique and personal experience, and there is no specific correlation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sleepers on the Enneagram,” says Norton. “However, one thing that can impact our sleep is how we relate to our personality.”
“In working with the Enneagram, the aim is first to befriend your personality, see how sophisticated and intelligent it is, and then start to shift patterns,” he explains. “My guess is the more friendly we become with our personality in our waking hours, the more peaceful we can be with ourselves in our unconscious sleep time.”
That said, it’s also important to avoid making or abiding by sweeping generalizations as you begin to learn more about the intricacies of how you present yourself (for example, while a Three may tend to enjoy waking up early, that’s not going to be the case for every Three).
The motivations are helpful for dialing in on sleep habits. “The questions that might be more useful to ask are, ‘Why are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you wake up and stay awake because of anxiety and worry?’ That might be something associated with your type,” suggests Norton, rather than slapping rigid labels and accepting them as the be-all and end-all when it comes to personalities.
The answers to those questions may help you better understand what is or isn’t working about your sleep. “Your responses to these questions may point to the ways certain types are more attached to control and thought or mind patterns and less aware of body wisdom or intuition,” he adds.
How to understand your sleeping habits and improve your morning routines based on your Enneagram type
Once you know your Enneagram personality type, read on to learn more about how you might improve your sleep habits and morning routine.
“One of the places we spend a lot of our time is in bed, and it’s in bed that our personality or ego gets to relax and our essence, our deeper self, comes alive,” says Norton.
We tapped Norton to provide a rundown of each type’s typical sleeping style and morning routine, as well as a “growth edge,” which is an opportunity for change and to challenge our perceptions to potentially enhance how we operate right before bed and as soon as we wake up.
Enneagram Type One: The Reformer
Sleeping style: Regimented and disciplined
“Type Ones put a lot of attention on right and wrong, so a typical bedtime routine for a One is likely to be very regimented and disciplined. If you’re a One, you probably find comfort in strict bedtimes rising early, and you might consider sleep as a way to optimize your energy and body. You might get frustrated or irritated when things disrupt your routine, like a misplaced sock, an unexpected mid-morning delivery, or a dripping faucet in the next room. Mistakes and irregularities can be very uncomfortable for a One, so their routine can feel very important to them.”
Growth edge: Disrupt your routine.
“As a One, you tend to be more rigid, focusing on structure and order, and this can lead to a lot of self-criticism and discomfort. A good edge for a One is to be a little less strict: Mix up the routine, leave the bed unmade, sleep in a little, and don’t unload the dishwasher before heading to work. Skip your morning workout once in a while, and instead, write a poem or go for a walk in nature.”
Enneagram Type Two: The Helper
Sleeping style: Distracted and selfless
“Type Twos are very focused on connection with other people and have a hard time taking care of their own needs. A bedtime routine for a Two might focus more on making sure your partner or your children are getting what they need and leaving your own needs to the last moment. Twos are often the first ones awake, wanting to prepare food and make sure everyone around them is taken care of.”
Growth edge: Take time for yourself.
“Giving and taking care of others can become compulsive. Before bed, practice checking in with your own needs, thinking about your day tomorrow, and see if there’s anything you might need some help with. Practice staying in bed and asking those around you to bring you breakfast, letting others take care of you in the same way you take care of them.
Enneagram Type Three: The Achiever
Sleeping style: Prepared and self-aware
“Type Threes are focused on maintaining a positive image, so their bedtime and morning routines are likely to put attention on presenting the best version of themselves to the world. This might involve sophisticated facial scrubs and masks, reading books that make you look good, or doing specific exercises focused on improving your image. Threes put a lot of attention into what they put in and on their body, believing that image communicates their value. This doesn’t just mean Threes are always flash — they could also be maintaining an image of modesty and humility, as well. Threes will put lots of time and energy into any image they believe will assure success.”
Growth edge: Enjoy stillness and silence.
“Focusing on your image distracts you from getting to know yourself more. Try spending less time on maintaining your image and appearance and more time on self-exploration. Slow down. Journal about your day without needing any specific point. Threes are the doers of the Enneagram, so find ways to just be. Take a bath without any podcast or book to distract you.”
Enneagram Type Four: The Individualist
Sleeping style: Chaotic and introspective
“Type Fours are very emotional and tend to pay a lot of attention to what they feel. This can mean they are less structured than other types: Some nights they might stay up late writing or drawing, some nights they take a bath and go to bed early, and some nights they have intense, romantic conversations with friends and lovers. Because feelings are so strong for Fours, they might have a harder time sticking to a routine. Fours often fall into sadness and melancholy and can sometimes find it difficult to get out of bed with the energy that other types do.”
Growth edge: Create a to-do list.
“Focus less on your feelings and become more disciplined before and after bed. Your emotional depths are a gift, but they can distract you from being in the reality around you and taking care of your body. Practice winding down with something relaxing, go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, and if you live with other people, pay more attention to their needs and wants rather than getting too caught up in yourself.”
Enneagram Type Five: The Observer
Sleeping style: Solitary and analytical
“Type Fives pay a lot of attention to facts and information and want to avoid intrusion from others. This may mean a Five will withdraw early for bed, wanting to get several hours alone before they go to sleep. This can be a time to read and learn or just to unwind and decompress. They have a harder time spending prolonged amounts of time with other people and often prefer the company of their own thoughts and imagination, so sharing a home or a bed with another person can, at times, be difficult.”
Growth edge: Interact with someone.
“Practice finding a balance at night between withdrawing and connecting with other people. If you live alone, connect with someone you love as a part of your evening or morning routine. Talking about your feelings for a few minutes with someone you trust can help you feel more open and connected. Fives also spend a lot of time in their heads, so moving into their body with a practice like Yin Yoga or Yoga Nidra may help settle you down for a good rest.“
Enneagram Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic
Sleeping style: Worried and restless
“Type Sixes pay a lot of attention to what problems might arise in the future, so their evening and morning routines might involve a lot of worrying and planning. They might find it harder to wind down because things feel unsettled — so many things could go wrong! Sixes are also very loyal and might want to make sure people around them are safe, so part of the evening routine might be checking in with others, making sure their home is secure, checking they’re prepared for anything that could go wrong in the night.”
Growth edge: Do something relaxing.
“It can be hard for a Six to relax and trust that things are going to work out, so before you go to bed, practice reflecting on all the good things that happened that day and all the things that went right. Set aside 15 minutes of ‘worry time’ in the evening and morning and focus on relaxation and calming down your mind outside of those few minutes. In the mornings, get into your body with some yoga or other exercise as a way to calm your mind.”
Enneagram Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Sleeping style: Dreamy and unfocused
“Type Sevens focus on fascinating and interesting ideas that stimulate their mind. They tend to move at a fast pace, so there’s a chance they skip the evening and morning routine altogether, either going at a 10 or a zero. Sevens tend to jump from one idea to the other, so they likely have several books they are reading, several different routines, and when one gets boring, difficult, or repetitive, they jump to something newer and more interesting.”
Growth edge: Set an alarm clock.
“Sevens have difficulty focusing and sticking with something, so a good growth practice would be sticking to the same routine every night and day. Read one book, start to finish. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, and have more discipline about how you start and end your day. Sevens move at a very fast pace, so practice winding down early and waking up slowly, giving your body time to adjust to being awake and falling asleep.”
Enneagram Type Eight: The Challenger
Sleeping style: Over-the-top and indulgent
“Type Eights have an attachment to excess, and when they enjoy something, they want more of it. This could lead to an excessive routine with lots of products, foods, and drinks before bed. The Eight is focused on power and control and doesn’t want to be seen as weak or vulnerable, so their morning routine might focus more on paying attention to the problems in the relationships around them, their community, or the world and less attention to their own need for protection.”
Growth edge: Journaling upon waking.
“Eights have difficulty with impulse control, so a good growth routine would be having only just so much of any one thing. You can have one piece of cake and not eat the whole thing, you can have one skincare product and not buy the whole line. It would also be a good practice for an Eight to start sharing more vulnerability with people they love before bed and in the morning: What was scary that happened today? Is there anything you’re sad about right now?”
Enneagram Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Sleeping style: Comfortable and secure
“Type Nines are the masters of sleep. They have an attachment to comfort and tend to go to sleep, both literally and psychologically, all the time. Nines are likely to have big, comfortable chairs and beds and spend ample time staying comfortable. They focus a lot on other people, so their evening and morning routines might be more centered on other people’s comfort and how they can help make things easier for them.”
Growth edge: Go on a morning jog.
“The Nine can confuse comfort and self-care, which are not the same thing. Self-care for a Nine might look more like separating themselves from a group, journaling about their wants and needs, and focusing less on others. Comfort can be a distraction for a Nine, a way they go numb to themselves. By being more selfish, getting less comfortable, and focusing on their (and not others’) self-care, the Nine can start to feel more empowered in their life.”
Once you have a better understanding of how your type may inform sleeping habits and morning routines, you can then take it a step further and identify how your Enneagram interacts with a significant other. Resources like The Enneagram Group can provide insight into revising sleeping habits so that they’re beneficial for both people. After all, sleep divorces are on the rise, though they may not be necessary with a few simple adjustments.