Circadian typology: a comprehensive review.
The interest in the systematic study of the circadian typology (CT) is relatively recent and has developed rapidly in the two last decades. All the existing data suggest that this individual difference affects our biological and psychological functioning, not only in health, but also in disease. In the present study, we review the current literature concerning the psychometric properties and validity of CT measures as well as individual, environmental and genetic factors that influence the CT. We present a brief overview of the biological markers that are used to define differences between CT groups (sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, cortisol and melatonin), and we assess the implications for CT and adjustment to shiftwork and jet lag. We also review the differences between CT in terms of cognitive abilities, personality traits and the incidence of psychiatric disorders. When necessary, we have emphasized the methodological limitations that exist today and suggested some future avenues of work in order to overcome these. This is a new field of interest to professionals in many different areas (research, labor, academic and clinical), and this review provides a state of the art discussion to allow professionals to integrate chronobiological aspects of human behavior into their daily practice.