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CHRONOTYPE: Each person is unique, each is their own unique chronotype (how light and other factors affect sleeping habits), but, for the sake of explanation on this website, the range of non-typical chronotypes has been initially neglected for the sake of simplicity.

However, bringing up the concept of chronotype provides an opportunity to learn about the wide range of how light effects non-typical or unhealthy persons

To state that the master clock in the brain assumes that the earth’s rotation is 24 hours and 15 minutes long is a correct statement when discussing an average healthy person.

But, persons with brain master clocks that are appreciatively slower than average persons (longer than 24.25 hours) who are referred to as “OWLS” (this term is used to describe a category of chronotype) tend to be very late risers. They would need more stimulus to advance their circadian rhythm and melatonin onset than an average person would.

Conversely, persons with brain master clocks that are appreciatively faster than average persons (shorter than 24.25 hours) who are referred to as “LARKS” (this term is used to describe a category of chronotype), tend to be very early risers. These require much less stimulation to advance their circadian rhythm and melatonin onset than an average person would.

An elderly, diseased person with a master clock less than 24-hours will need to employ more circadian-delaying light exposure to their eyes than advancing light exposure (the exact opposite of a typical person) to be in sync with the earth’s rotation. This can be accomplished by using a SAD lamp during the time that is opposite of a typical person. A typical person would use such a lamp in the morning after awaking, whereas the elderly person with a diseased, overly fast clock would use a SAD lamp before bedtime.

The normal high and clearly defined time boundaries for the release of melatonin and cortisol may, in an elderly person, be rather shallow and not have clearly defined time boundaries. This may require greater extremes of light and dark exposures to the eyes, to sharpen and elevate the peaks of these hormones in the bloodstream, than what an average healthy person may require for good light hygiene health.

Furthermore, aging yellows the lens of the eye, possibly making ones’ aged self more prone to needing more light in the morning to advance his rhythm than his younger self. Conversely ones’ younger self may require more shielding of the eyes in the evening than ones’ older self to avoid overly delaying the master clock.

An individual’s exact placement on the range of possible human chronotypes will change with age and health.

Otherwise, to state that the pineal gland can maximally release 11.5 hours of melatonin is a correct statement for typical healthy persons. But there are diseases that effect the pineal gland, reducing its output. The same holds true for cortisol and the adrenal glands. Eye disease can also contribute to circadian disruption.

Overall, the point to take home here is this, to know yourself and make adjustments as needed. Persons should experiment and take note of how their own personal light hygiene habits either help or harm them.

It is my goal to eventually make melatonin and cortisol onset home test kits available to the same degree that blood sugar meters and body temperature thermometers presently are. If a person suspects they are not typical, unhealthy or just interested to know where they stand, such home testing should be readily available.

Click for CHRONOTYPE pronunciation.

Click Melatonin Action Spectrum to follow logical sequence of explanation.


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