These people specialise in research and treatment of mood/sleep/circadian disorders like depression, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), sleep onset delay etc with daylight therapy, dawn simulating light “alarm”, hilarious yellow sunglasses for indoor use, air ionizers and other techniques that are drug-free but backed by good research and clinical evidence. They only sell the products that have actually been used in the research and tested (not to be confused with those bedside table light alarm clocks which have not been studied for effectiveness). Also, the light therapy units are available in the US and Europe, in various voltage/plug combinations and can be easily shipped to Australia.

Ideally humans sleep in darkness (except for moonlight) and wake to natural dawn. I find that my whole wake/sleep cycle, energy levels and patterns of sleep are affected by where I am sleeping and what the light situation is. Berkeley is currently the worst for me (of my 3 homes), not only is there alot of light pollution outside my window which I have to block out with dark blue velvet curtains but even if I remember to open them around dawn, there is no strong direct sunlight available around 8am (my individual need) to sustain a healthy circadian rhythm, so I start feeling sleepier and sleepier in the late mornings, drag through the day and then wake up in the evenings and then have trouble going to sleep at a reasonable hour. In Boulder there was good available strong sunlight (300 days of the year !) but the Bay Area itself, and the house where Im living (as well as in 1996-7 in San Carlos) there just isnt enough morning light to have me wake up around 8 am and get sleepy around 10pm. And yes, I do need more hours sleep than “normal” but it becomes unmanageable if Im sleeping those 9.5 hours late into the morning and stay up way too late at night.

People have alerted me to the other dangers of light pollution and not sleeping reasonable hours at night time: endocrine disruption, some hormonally based cancers (eg breast), weight gain, depression…

The CET published Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders in 2009 and supply apparatus (light boxes etc) that are supported by the research.  They are an incredibly generous team (in terms of information sharing) of scientists and doctors emerging from Columbia University, NYC and in Switzerland (also elsewhere internationally). Here is the long list of members and their qualifications:

http://www.cet.org/eng/AboutUs_ENG.html#Organization

One of the very helpful aspects of the general public site is the self assessment tools they offer for free online. These are proper diagnostic questionnaires for depression, seasonal mood issues (eg. SAD) and also circadian rhythm diagnosis; literally are yo ua night owl or a lark? What time does your system naturally wake and sleep? All of these tests help to decide whether you want to try the light therapy and if so how much and when. Obviously, if you suffer from moderate to severe clinical depression, you need professional advice which your doctor/therapist can seek from the professional website for CET and use the manual and other resources to apply light therapy in your specific case. People with mania and hypomanic diagnoses also need to consult a qualified practitioner.

 

 

There are two sections of the website, one for physicians:

CET – Center for Environmental Therapeutics.

and one for the general public:

http://www.cet.org/eng/Index_ENG.html

If anyone is actually reading this and decides to do the tests I would be very interested to hear of your experiences 🙂

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1 comment

  1. We at CET are grateful for your detailed, enthusiastic overview! You are high on Google’s search list for our Center, so here is some update information (Jan 2015):

    1. Our website, http://www.cet.org, is newly revamped and expanded. The former separate sections for the general public and professionals have been coalesced, since we found the doctors, patients, and consumers are all seeking much common information. The links you list to the separate sections may produce an error message, or direct you to the old website. We’ll fix this soon, but want to note here that the best way to reach us is also the simplest: http://www.cet.org.

    2. Our automated, online self-assessment questionnaires have been streamlined and are accessible from the Assessment tab on the new website. The AutoMEQ, for circadian rhythm assessment, recently surpassed one million users internationally!

    3. Our selection of best therapy products has been updated and expanded.

    4. Our treatment manual for clinicians, Chronotherapeutics, was updated in a revised, second edition in 2013.

    5. Michael Terman, president of CET, published a comprehensive book for general readers, patients, and their doctors: Reset Your Inner Clock (Penguin Random House, 2013).

    Thanks again for helping us reach out to all the folks who suffer annual cycles of mood disturbance, and those with circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

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