Chronotherapy

Modern medicine has established that circadian rhythms (rhythms that occur about a day such as the sleep cycle & one’s diurnal cortisol cycle) are involved in virtually all of our physiological processes. Regulation of our circadian rhythms is achieved by our biological clock in the pineal gland (which regulates our rhythms via melatonin secretion and inhibition). A number of factors (known as ‘zeitgeibers’ influence the circadian rhythm (signal our natural body clock which in turn affects melatonin levels) including:

  • Light Light and dark therapy are used to regulate this zeitgeiber
  • Social and Environmental cues (such as mealtimes, exercise, socializing, watching T.V, etc.) – Social Rhythm Metric (SRM) tool used to regulate this zeitgeiber
  • Transmeridian travel  – Low-dose melatonin used to regulate this zeitgeiber (and thus to minimize jet lag)
  • Shift workAmber glasses, light therapy and low-dose melatonin used to regulate this zeitgeiber

Therapies addressing circadian rhythms are important for overall health, but particularly important in addressing hormonal imbalances, sleep abnormalities and some mental health issues. (There is a growing body of evidence that supports the finding that those suffering from Bipolar disorders are particularly vulnerable to aberrations in their circadian rhythms.  Seasonal affective disorder (or S.A.D.) is considered a bipolar variant and there is strong evidence that light therapy and other chronotherapeutic interventions can have a significant therapeutic effect on this disorder.)

A variety of chronotherapeutic interventions can make a significant impact on the course, severity and duration of bipolar episodes, S.A.D. and sleep disorders. In my practice I use a number of these tools including:

  • Social Rhythm Metric (SRM) tool
  • Light &/Dark therapy (Light boxes, Amber glasses)
  • Mood journal/Mood diary
  • Low-dose melatonin administration
  • Principles based on the field of therapy known as Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

In addition, I offer individualized counsel and support about how to minimize circadian disturbances and triggers that can interfere with optimal circadian rhythms and thus optimal mental and physical health.

Learn more about how circadian rhythms affect your health on Dr. Fry’s blog:

 

 

Designed by Dr. Mary Fry, Developed by Jerry DeFoe