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Definition - What does Chronotherapy mean?

Chronotherapy is a method used to treat sleep disorders using external stimuli to gradually adjust a person's sleep patterns. Sometimes referred to as a rescheduling treatment, chronotherapy may be used to treat circadian rhythm sleep disorders such as Delayed Sleep Phase (DSP) insomnia. During chronotherapy, an individual takes measures to actively alter the initiation of the sleep cycle to bring their biological clock into conformance with normal wake-sleep times.

SureHire explains Chronotherapy

During chronotherapy treatments for sleep or related disorders, a person gradually delays his or her bedtime until the optimum schedule is achieved. This procedure is known as progressive phase advance. Light therapy may be enlisted to stimulate the body's wakefulness in order to prolong the period before they fall asleep. The avoidance of early morning light, which may lead to the individual waking too early is also recommended.

The goal is to alter the person's sleep so that they can overcome insomnia or other circadian rhythm disruptions and regain a normal sleep schedule.

A related practice which is sometimes also known as chronotherapy, but may also be called chronotherapeutics or chronopharmacology, involves the timing of the delivery of medications and other treatments to optimize their effects based on the human wake-sleep cycle or circadian rhythm. Researchers have determined that in some instance, the timing of a particular treatment may affect how well the body responds. Chronotherapeutic scheduling of chemotherapy is sometimes implemented as part of a patient's cancer treatment plan.

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