An enlightened approach to insomnia, depressed mood, fatigue, and other sleep-related problems of everyday life, harnessing the power of light therapy to reset the natural clock.
Sleep problems and depressed mood often go hand in hand, forming a frustrating cycle. Michael Terman, PhD, has devoted his career to studying the brain functions that feed these disorders. His discoveries in chronotherapy have been widely recognized as game-changers by the medical establishment, and his 2010 New York Times op-ed, “Sleeping (or Not) by the Wrong Clock,” shot to number one on the paper’s list of most-forwarded online articles. In Chronotherapy, Terman and McMahan reveal the heart of his findings, a powerful program that recalibrates our internal clocks—our exquisitely designed, natural sensitivity to the timing and brightness of light exposure. These delicate mechanisms are often decimated by the modern demands of a 24/7 lifestyle.
Beginning with a questionnaire that pinpoints the problem areas, Terman helps readers decipher when their natural internal night begins and ends. The treatment process can then start, incorporating the power of natural light and, when necessary, supplemental light therapy. His approach has brought relief to thousands of sleep sufferers, as well as those burdened by bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, depression, sleep disorders due to around-the-clock work schedules, and other impediments to vibrant health. For the first time, his findings are now available for a general audience, sharing the essential elements of chronobiology in clear, authoritative, scientifically grounded chapters that are easy to apply to a variety of situations.
Chronotherapy chapters include:
PART ONE: TIME, SLEEP, AND RHYTHMS
Chapter 1: External vs. Internal Time
The clock on the wall measures twenty-four hours every day, but the clock in your brain runs a little different. How can you help them work together?
Chapter 2: The Pressure to Sleep
The longer you stay awake, the more pressure you feel to sleep. But what if your inner clock says it is not yet ready for sleep?
Chapter 3: Owls, Larks, and Hummingbirds
What kind of “bird” are you? And once you know, how can that help you figure out when best to get stuff done?
PART TWO: TIME, LIGHT, AND THE BRAIN
Chapter 4: Getting Light into the Brain
How do your eyes pass signals to your inner clock, and what makes those signals so important?
Chapter 5: Getting Light Wrong
Seeing light and being in darkness are basic daily experiences. But what happens when they come at the wrong times, and why does that have such negative consequences for mood, alertness, and sleep?
Chapter 6: Geography and Time
East or west, south or north, how can where you live have such a huge impact on your mood and sleep?
PART THREE: INTERVENTIONS
Chapter 7: Healing Light
How can light help you solve your sleep problems, have more energy, and feel more positive about life? Why do the details matter so much?
Chapter 8: Nighttime Meds and Melatonin
Do you rely on pills to get to sleep? They may not work, and they may be bad for you. But a new approach based on the brain’s inner clock holds great promise.
Chapter 9: Hospitalized with Depression
When someone becomes so depressed they need to go to the hospital, what promise does chronotherapy offer for a quick turnaround and continued improvement?
Chapter 10: Beyond Light: The Charge in the Air
What is it about spending a day at the beach that gives you such a lift? And how can you use new technology to bring that feeling of wellbeing into your home?
PART FOUR: STAGES OF LIFE
Chapter 11: The Promise of Pregnancy
You are going to have a baby! You are thrilled, but a little apprehensive too. How can chronotherapy help you through the next nine months?
Chapter 12: Strategies for Babies and Children
When your baby or child sleeps well and feels good, you feel better too. How can chronotherapy help you reach this goal?
Chapter 13: The Challenges of Adolescence
As a teen, why do you feel the need to stay up so late and sleep so late? What are the consequences for your mood, health, and schoolwork? What simple steps can you take to put your life on a smoother course?
Chapter 14: In Later Years
Does getting older have to mean being tired, sleeping badly, and feeling down? How can you or someone you care about reverse these trends by using light?
PART FIVE: CHRONOTHERAPY IN YOUR LIFE
Chapter 15: Coping with Shift Work
What if your job puts you on duty when your inner clock says you should be asleep? How can chronotherapy help you stay awake, alert, and in a decent mood?
Chapter 16: Racing the Clock, Racing the Sun
You are traveling across the world and you need to be in high gear tomorrow. How can chronotherapy prepare you for the trip and help you recover from jet lag as quickly as possible?
Chapter 17: Chronobiology in the Home and Workplace
How will the collaboration of chronobiologists and architects transform the places you live, work, and learn?
Chapter 18: Dawn of a Circadian Science
Why is mainstream medicine so slow to put the insights of chronotherapy into practice?
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"Chronotherapy is a timely and valuable book, packed with information that can help just about anybody. Terman and McMahan do an outstanding job in explaining how these disturbances come about in terms that are readily accessible and interesting. More important, they provide simple guidelines and solutions as to what to do when your circadian rhythms misbehave. A terrific addition to the literature on light, sleep and rhythms for the general public." -- Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., author of Winter Blues and Transcendence
"This brilliant book offers a simple, fascinating account of successes with timed light treatment and user-friendly sleep times. It is essential reading for anyone with persistent sleep problems." -- Josephine Arendt, Ph.D., M.D., honoris causa, ex-President, The European Biological Rhythms Society, and author of Melatonin and the Mammalian Pineal Gland
"Whether struggling through the night shift, jetting across time zones, waking up too early in the hollow dawn, sleepless in Seattle, parenting a newborn or a teenager, caring for a demented relative, or suffering from depression, the major cause of sleep issues is an internal clock out of sync with the external world. Light therapy, scheduled sleep timing, melatonin, negative air ions--we now have a nonpharmacological toolbox to fix these symptoms: chronotherapy! This beautifully clear guidebook will open your eyes to a natural and science-based approach to many ailments of our 24/7 society." -- Anna Wirz-Justice, Ph.D., ex-President, Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms, and author of Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders: A Clinician's Manual for Light and Wake Therapy
"We have all pondered our experience with sleep disturbances, jet lag, and shift work, and the impact on our functioning.Chronotherapy is a refreshing review of our biological rhythmicity and its application to improving health. Particularly interesting is the consideration of stages in the life cycle, including pregnancy, all too often a neglected topic. The authors are to be commended for taking a complex subject, chronotherapeutics, and capably developing it into an understandable discussion for any reader." -- Katherine L. Wisner, M.D., past President, The Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health, and Director, Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders, Northwestern University
Based on decades of research, Chronotherapy shows you how to harness the power of light to reset your natural clock and boost your mood, be more alert, and get a good night's sleep.
A good night's sleep can be hard to get. Sleep problems and depressed mood often go hand in hand, forming a frustrating cycle. Only now are we beginning to understand the way these problems are based in the working of the brain's inner clock, through the science of chronobiology--the study of circadian rhythms and their regulation by light and darkness. For the first time, Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center and a leading expert in chronobiology and chronotherapy, shares his scientific insights and treatments that have helped thousands of sleep sufferers find relief.
Like all our cousins in the animal kingdom, we have an internal timing system that is exquisitely sensitive to the pattern and brightness of the light we are exposed to. Contemporary life, however, often deprives our clock of the daily signals it relies on. As a result, our bodies are easily thrown into conflict with daily work and family requirements, causing major sleep disruptions that affect our mood and productivity. The list of problems includes depression, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, shift work disturbance, adolescent sleep loss, and more.
Chronotherapy offers an authoritative, clinically informed way to understand and break the frustrating cycle of clock-based sleep disorders. Dr. Terman, along with Ian McMahan, PhD, an expert in developmental psychology, explains the science behind chronobiology and lays out the full range of rhythm-shifting strategies, including the proper use of light therapy, structured exposure to darkness, bedroom dawn and dusk simulation, melatonin supplements, and sleep scheduling, to bring you the kind of sleep your body needs.
Chronotherapy has the power to recalibrate your life with renewed energy, vibrant good health, and peace of mind--spanning life stages from the earliest years through old age.
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