The New York Times Opinionator blog recently published an article describing how two insomnia patients treated with chronotherapeutics managed to improve their sleep habits.
Chronotherapeutics are methods designed to reset our internal circadian clocks. The article describes how one patient (after finding the optimum time to start the light therapy) went from battling sleep onset insomnia to being able to regularly fall asleep at midnight and wake at around 7.30am. Within a week, the patient's depression had lifted, he was more alert in the morning and his frequent headaches vanished.
Another patient usually slept between 7am and 3pm - although he was following his internal clock, it was out of rhythm with the outside world. His sleep problems went away after around 2 weeks of using light therapy, melatonin and light filtering glasses.
What we found particularly interesting in the article was the fact that much of the treatment came down to trial and error - it took time for the therapists to find the right combination of when to start the light therapy and for how long. In our eyes, this gives the technique much more credibility - after all, we're all different.
If you're interested in learning more about chronotherapeutics, we recommend you give the blog article a read - it's a tough slog at times, but it's extremely thorough and well referenced.
Last updated: May 4, 2010