Hello gang. I've been hanging out for a while and decided to finally register and jump in. SLD really appealed to me because I've been doing some self-experimentation for a while now, and I think it's a really exciting and worthwhile thing to do. (BTW, got the book a couple days ago and already getting good AS!)
I wanted to share something that I've found that works really well for the treatment of sleep and mood problems. I have been diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar II disorder. I am also a Non-24, a chronic circadian rhythm disorder where one's body thinks a day is longer than 24 hours. I do not think that these problems exist in isolation, because dark therapy is used to treat bipolar disorder, light therapy is used for unipolar depression and both help sleep disorders and ADHD.
Anyway, I've been using amber safety glasses (around $3 in the hunting section of the sporting goods store) for dark therapy. I put them on 3 hours before I want to go to sleep. They block blue light, allowing dark therapy without the dark. I also wear an eye mask while I sleep. The glasses make me look like a big weirdo, but they really work. It's easier to get to sleep, and they prevent hypomania (the milder form of mania that people with Bipolar II experience) better than any medication I have tried. It makes sense that almost anyone could benefit from them, because our ancestors were not exposed to blue light after dark.
Dark therapy alone, however did not work for depressed mood. Sad Christmas. For that, I started drinking my morning coffee outside (about 20 minutes or so seems to be adequate) without sunglasses to get a good dose of sunlight on my eyes. I imagine that a blue light designed for light therapy would work as well or better. I am about to order one for the winter. The ones I have found are around $100. Anyone who knows of a good one, please let me know.
Dark therapy and light therapy combined were helpful, but not enough to overcome Non-24, which is notoriously difficult to treat. I recently found the missing key to this: meal timing. I saw a talk that Seth gave where he talked about curing his problem with waking too early by skipping breakfast. My problem was difficulty waking. I read an article that suggested that our circadian rhythms are not just tied to light, but to food times as well. I used to eat late at night and never eat breakfast. I started eating breakfast immediately upon waking (ick) and stopping all food at least 12 hours before I wanted to wake. Basically, I did what Seth did only opposite. It worked. It worked better than Ambien at night and Adderall in the morning (the Elvis regimen I was on for a few years). It's also nice to know that I can stay up late when I need to (like tonight!) and not totally screw up my schedule, as long as I don't eat (much easier with AS) and wear my safety glasses. I was even able to adjust my cat's circadian rhythm -- he used to wake me up too early for his breakfast -- by gradually moving his supper time.
A happy result of all of this is that dark therapy, light therapy and meal timing has also been great for my ADHD. It's not as good as when I was on medication, but better. Perhaps a little self-experimentation is in order? I'm open to suggestion.
I would love to hear if anyone has tried anything else to control circadian rhythms, and I look forward to interacting with you all. Sorry for writing a book for my first post.