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How to Sleep Better

The effect size of melatonin use is usually pretty small. I think most studies say it shifts your cycle by 10-20 minutes. As I tended to go to bed an hour or two later every night, this was not enough. 

As for light therapy, it's not strange that it would have a different effect. Light stimulates a neural pathway going straight to your suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is the core circadian clock in your brain. (Melatonin is not involved in this, though melatonin is affected downstream.) Melatonin, on the other hand, is released by the pineal gland and is used to regulate the SCN (among other things), but it's not involved directly in the core timing mechanisms of the SCN.

How to Sleep Better

I should note that my sleep issues are completely under control now, primarily due to the light therapy, as well as making sure I wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. I now sleep like a normal, healthy person.

For a long time, especially when I was living in a dim basement, I had bouts of non-24 hour sleep-wake rhythm and I even had periods of irregular sleep-wake rhythm, which was a nightmare. So the light therapy etc. has taken me a long way. Fixing my sleep also played a large role in fixing my depression (and vice versa), since the comorbidity between depression and circadian rhythm disorders is very high (I think I remember >50%)

As for melatonin, I was never able to tell for sure if it was having an effect, but it definitely wasn't solving my sleep issues as the other stuff did. Maybe there's some biological variability in response to it or something. I did try different doses, up to the sedative level, and it never really helped. I'm glad some people find it helpful though.

How to Sleep Better

Based on my experience with circadian rhythm issues (delayed sleep phase syndrome etc.):

- Turning off the blue light in your devices in the evening is probably less impactful than lowering the brightness of your devices in the first place. Do both, but don't expect a blue light filter to work if the device is still blasting your eyeballs.

- Many indoor environments are underilluminated. Your bedroom is probably 100x times darker than the sun. That's not an exaggeration -- we just don't notice because we perceive light on a curve. Get much brighter lights. Going as bright as direct sunlight is too expensive, but you can easily get 10% of the way there, and it will stabilize your sleep (as long as you put the lights on a timer so they match the actual sun!) Get lights with a 90+ CRI, otherwise they will feel harsh.

- It should be a few degrees colder in your bedroom when you want to go to sleep, than the rest of the building is during the day. 

- I never had success with melatonin: your body adapts too quickly when it's used as a sedative, and the effects of using it in smaller doses as a circadian-rhythm shifter (a few hours before bedtime) were mild to nonexistent for me. 


CoZE 2

Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is fear. To quote Alan Watts:

"To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape."

Exposure therapy techniques are useful if there's something causing you more fear than it ought, but some level of fear is inevitable. Accepting the fear is the only way to conquer it, but trying to conquer it is just being afraid of the fear, and therefore not accepting it. So you must accept the fear, not because you want to be rid of it, but because you realise that resisting the fear is futile.