Tag Archive: circadian

May 06

Circadian Rhythms and Food

Scientists are uncovering a fascinating relationship between circadian rhythms and food consumption. It looks as though when you eat can have a big impact on how your body metabolizes the food and on whether or not you gain weight. It has long been clear that light exposure plays an important role in setting a number …

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Jan 24

Darkness Treats Mania?

Bright light is one of the most rapidly effective treatments for depression and may be helpful for depression even in people without a clear seasonal pattern (winter depression). A recent study suggests that it may also be true that darkness treats mania. The portion of the light spectrum that affects circadian rhythms the most strongly …

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Jan 18

Chronotherapy and Getting Up Early

Getting up early is one of the best ways of counteracting depression. And having a strong circadian rhythm is especially important for people with bipolar depression because their internal “clock” may be less powerful. But it can be a challenge making a change in your sleep cycle, especially if you have always been a late riser. …

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Jan 07

Why Do I Have To Have a Regular Schedule?

“Why do I have to have a regular schedule” was the lurking question that hung over my conversation with Ann. She didn’t actually ask me that question but I could see that there was a rebellious child hiding in the corner of the room who was making the conversation we were having about getting regular …

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Aug 08

Jet Lag Explained

What is “jet lag” and why do most people feel worse when they travel around the globe in one direction, rather than the other? An article in the journal Chaos, summarized in the New York Times, suggests an answer. And offers some hope that you can reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms. For …

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Oct 13

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Getting up early is one of the best ways of counteracting depression. And having a strong circadian rhythm is especially important for people with bipolar depression because their internal “clock” may be less powerful. But it can be a challenge making a change in your sleep cycle, especially if you have always been a late riser. …

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Mar 16

Chronotherapy for Depression

Chronotherapy for Depression results

Chronotherapy for depression was recently shown to be effective in a fairly large and well designed study from New Zealand. What is chronotherapy? As discussed in the article, which appeared in Acta Scandanavica Psychiatrica, chronotherapy involves some combination of three separate sleep and wakefulness related interventions: Wake therapy. Wake therapy (previously known as “sleep deprivation” therapy, …

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Feb 15

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms …

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Nov 30

Circadian Rhythm Self Assessment

circadian rhythm self assessment

I ran across a wonderful tool for circadian rhythm self assessment on the website of the Center for Environmental Therapeutics. The Center is devoted to providing the public and clinicians with high-quality information about natural interventions for people with stress, anxiety, and depression. I took the online test and it said I was definitely a morning …

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Oct 23

Sleeping at the Right Time

Sleeping - Timing Matters

Sleeping can become a major preoccupation at times of stress, or when one is depressed, or when the seasons change, as they are doing now. We tend to think about sleep as being something that is good for you. The more sleep and the better the quality of that sleep the better off you are. …

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Jun 03

Spring into Summer: Light and Sleep Changes

Many people have been noticing the very long days of late Spring and early Summer. There is more energy to get things done, although that energy can end up being challenged into anxiety and irritability if you aren’t careful and don’t get at least a few hours of sleep every night… I often think about …

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May 17

Sleep and the Lunar Cycle

One of our readers wondered if bipolar people are more sensitive to lunar cycles. I could not find any evidence for that, but I did run across a recent research report suggesting that everyone (bipolar or not) may have a sleep cycle that corresponds to the phase of the moon. Researchers at the University of …

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Mar 31

How Light Affects the Brain

Two recent articles that I reviewed highlight the accumulating evidence that something as simple as sunlight has profound impacts on brain biology. When I suggest to people that they pay attention to daily light exposure and, particularly, to getting bright light for 45 minutes every morning, I am often looked at with skepticism. “Sure doc,” …

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Nov 28

Sleep Therapy and Depression

What would you do if you could double the effectiveness of your antidepressants? Let’s say that this new treatment also had no known side effects, and was completely safe. That is what four studies have suggested could happen if people who were started on antidepressants received cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). However, this treatment …

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Aug 27

Late Night TV Blues

Studies have tended to find that watching more TV is correlated with higher levels of depression, but is that just because TV is so boring? A recent review published in the New England Journal’s Journal Watch for Psychiatry suggests that the link might in part involve the fact that watching TV at night exposes you …

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Aug 24

“Normal” Sleep

One of the justifiable criticisms of psychiatry is that it has a tendency to define a relatively narrow range of behavior as normal. We often tell the psychiatry residents to watch out for this tendency, and try to avoid it. Certainly sleep medicine is at least as prone to this tendency as psychiatry, as we …

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Aug 22

Get Ready for Fall

As August winds itself up, it is time to start thinking about the fall and then winter coming up. A little bit like the squirrels, who are already putting away food for the winter, it may make sense to make sure that you have what you need to have a happy and energetic fall and …

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Aug 12

Mood and the Brain’s Clock

As we slowly move from summer to fall, it may be timely that the issue of Biological Psychiatry that arrived in the mail today is devoted to how the brain’s clock affects mood. It points to growing evidence that part of what drives mood cycles are disruptions in the brain’s daily (circadian) rhythms. It appears …

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Jul 28

MoodRhythm: Beta Users Needed

One of our readers forwarded to us a story about a new application called MoodRhythm that was developed at Cornell University and won  the prestigious $100,000 Heritage Open mHealth Challenge. The full story is available here. The application, which is available as a beta, is available for both iPhones and Android smartphones (although how to download …

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Mar 30

Nature’s Cycles

It should be raining. It is March in the San Francisco Bay area, and we have had hardly any rain for the past three months. It’s a funny thing, but even though I have been taking advantage of the good weather to go out bicycle riding and hiking, there’s a part of me that doesn’t …

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