Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock to Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep

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Penguin, Oct 25, 2012 - Health & Fitness - 352 pages
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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, which are often decimated by the modern demands of a 24/7 lifestyle.

Beginning with a questionnaire to pinpoint problem areas, Terman helps readers decipher when their natural internal night is. 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?
Chapter 8: Nighttime Meds and Melatonin
Do you rely on pills to get to sleep? They may not work, and 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 home feeling of wellbeing?
PART FOUR: STAGES OF LIFE
Chapter 11: The Promise of Pregnancy
You are going to have a baby! 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? 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 to 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
How chronotherapy prepares you for a trip and helps 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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About the author (2012)

Michael Terman, PhD, is a leading authority on the circadian clock and directs the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. He also founded the Center for Environmental Therapeutics and has been widely featured in the media, including on the major TV networks, NPR, and international news syndicates.

Ian McMahan, PhD, is a widely published, award-winning developmental psychologist whose work includes fiction as well as academic and scholarly texts. He is a professor emeritus of psychology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

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