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Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood

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Author Topic: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood  (Read 12707 times)

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Anima

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Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:43:49 AM »

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.

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tek_vixen

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Re: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 10:27:52 AM »

Welcome Anima!  What an interesting post.  I've never heard of Non-24 before.  What are the symptoms and how was it diagnosed?  My oldest daughter is Bipolar also.  I'm wondering if she might benefit from dark therapy.  I've been suggesting a sleep mask to help her sleep better, but maybe I should pick up the amber safety glasses too.

I bought my fiance one of the blue lights, but of course he doesn't use it.  I got it at Costco for less than $100.  I'm thinking about grabbing it for myself since he doesn't seem to want to use it.

Cheers,

T-Vix
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Anima

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Re: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 11:18:55 AM »

Welcome Anima!  What an interesting post.  I've never heard of Non-24 before.  What are the symptoms and how was it diagnosed?

Hi!  Most people with non-24 have a body clock that insists the day is longer than 24 hours and doesn't respond normally to light and dark cycles, which means that your sleep/wake cycle changes every day.  If left to my own without intervention or forcibly waking myself, I would stay up a little later each night (for me it's about an hour) and wake up later each morning, indefinitely.  Over half of all blind people suffer from it, but it is rare in sighted people.  I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist, but it's pretty obvious (and debilitating - think waking in the middle of your "night" half the time) to those who have it.  Most teenagers experience delayed sleep onset (a body clock that works better going to bed later and sleeping in), which is related.

My oldest daughter is Bipolar also.  I'm wondering if she might benefit from dark therapy.  I've been suggesting a sleep mask to help her sleep better, but maybe I should pick up the amber safety glasses too.

I have had such an improvement that I would recommend that any bipolar person try it.  After all, it's cheap, easy and it won't interact poorly with medication.  For me, the results came quickly.  This site: http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/LightDark.htm has some information that might be helpful.  Make sure the glasses have a deep tint (orange-ey), to block the right wavelengths.  Example ($7): http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S1933X-Eyewear-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B000USRG90

You could also have her limit computer and TV time at night (tons of blue light) and put a yellow light bulb in her bedroom lamp.  I replaced my grandmother's night light with a tiny yellow bulb, and she said she sleeps better.  Like everything else, dark therapy only works if you do it.  I used to have a tendency to want to skip nights or delay the time that I donned my super-cool specs, but that really ruins the mood stabilization.

I bought my fiance one of the blue lights, but of course he doesn't use it.  I got it at Costco for less than $100.  I'm thinking about grabbing it for myself since he doesn't seem to want to use it.

Let me know if it works!
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zerimar

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Re: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2011, 03:15:51 PM »

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.


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I started June 1, 2006

zerimar

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Re: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 03:25:04 PM »

 RE: "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."

I gave your ideas some thought, (bought and used the Orange glasses to some benefit for myself,) and changed my cat's feeding schedule.  Before this intervention she was waking up earlier and earlier to eat, and waking us up by being noisy, annoying, walking on our heads, etc. We would lock her in the laundry room until we woke up a few hours later.  This did not change her behavior.

About a month ago I changed her feeding schedule to 6 pm and 10 pm.  She meows much of the time between those hours--tolerable.  BUT, she sleeps through night and does not wake us up. She is still extremely food oriented, but much easier to live with. My husband calls me the Cat Whisperer. Thanks, Anima!
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I started June 1, 2006

kaile

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Re: Blue Light, Meal Times and Sleep Cycle/Mood
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2012, 11:06:35 PM »

Thanks for the ideas about sleep...I was searching for some content like these but most web sites are like selling their contents..
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