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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Circadian Rhythm Realignment for Depression

Nov 01, 2023 12:00AM ● By Natural Awakenings Milwaukee
The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle that occurs every 24 hours, and it is an important factor in depression. A recent research review from the Translational Psychiatry journal shows that disruptions in circadian rhythms can increase the risk of depression, and that depression itself alters normal circadian rhythms, indicating a bidirectional relationship and a potentially vicious cycle.

By realigning one’s circadian rhythm to a more natural cycle through the use of chronotherapy, one may be able to improve depression. Chronotherapy refers to realigning the body with the cues it would normally be exposed to in a natural environment. For example, getting exposed to bright light during the day and limiting artificial light at night can realign the body with the natural day/light cycles and may help to improve depression. In fact, research in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that chronotherapy interventions are well-tolerated and even more effective than psychotherapy and antidepressants in treating depression.

Additional practices such as exercise during the day and time-restricted eating to the daylight hours may also restore natural circadian rhythms. Overall, circadian rhythm realignment through chronotherapy appears to have exciting potential to treat depression, either by itself or alongside other more standard treatments.

Jack Cincotta is an AADP board-certified holistic health practitioner and AFPA-certified holistic health coach, is located at N4147 W. Water St., Sullivan. For more information, call 920-650-7674, email [email protected] or visit

Jack Cincotta, AADP board-certified holistic health practitioner and AFPA-certified holistic health coach