Ever since the time of the ancients, the circadian rhythms of the earth and all it produces, by way of animals, plants and humans, have been considered of utmost significance, not only in rituals, but in very survival itself. On these shores, one only has to look at the ceremonies which are performed even to this day at the time of the equinoxes at Stonehenge. On each occasion, they continue to draw followers of the Druid Order at each solstice. Of course, the moon has a large part to play in this interplay of light and dark influencing this cycle.
As increasing cloud pollution contaminates the sky - be it from industrial or traffic sources, connection with our natural rhythms becomes increasingly compromised. On top of this, blue light emitted by technological devices (which are spreading across the globe) intensifies this highly toxic cocktail we are all exposed to. This combined influence is often overlooked when considering the harmful effect on public health.
It should be pointed out that, according to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, there could be a link between night time exposure to blue light with both breast and prostate cancer. Melatonin as a remedy could support the patient in the short term with the exposure, just as it supports the patient suffering jet lag when flying between time zones.
When taking the case of our patients, as homeopaths we may easily overlook the seasonal influences as well as sleep and time modalities. Some may present, for example, with marked susceptibility to the lunar cycles or perhaps depression which only occurs in the winter months. It is well known that remedies such as Alumina, Calcarea Carbonicum, Luna, and Silica are sensitive to moonlight and remedies such as Aurum Metallicum, Psorinum, and Syphilinum are indicated for winter depression.
In the case of sleep disturbance, this may well precede a State on the Spectrum such as Alzheimer's disease. Rooted in this is often an emotional trigger such as grief or shock buried in childhood issues. However, it is evident that this history cannot be uncovered in these cases. This means that focus on the sleep disturbance may become paramount in finding the simillimum for the case. The main remedies indicated in Alzheimer's disease all have different types of distorted sleep patterns. To take the case of such a patient, one may have to rely on information from a carer or family relative as the patients themselves may not be able to focus on an individual symptom such as this. By relieving the sleep symptoms, much energy is freed up to clear the befuddled mental picture which prevails. Remedies such as Ginkgo Biloba and Gotu Kola (Hydrocotyle Asiatica) - especially in herbal form in my experience - support the alertness and focus of these cases by increasing the circulation of the blood to the brain.
Sleep deprivation robs glucose from the cerebral cortex - the brain region responsible for self-control. This in turn impacts the hippocampus - that structure responsible for memory and the one most damaged in these cases. These brain structures have a strong link with the limbic system, where the mood is regulated and bonding takes places. Another observation of these patients is that often they become more agitated in the evening at the time of dusk - another symptom of disrupted circadian rhythms. This could be due to their lack of exposure to natural sunlight during their daily routines.
When the pattern of sleep disturbance stretches back into the case and there may be an ancestral link to the insomnia, the nosodes such as Carcinocin, Medorrhinum, or Syphilinum, could come into play. The important aspect here is that it could be the family expression of emotions which manifests in this outcome in the presenting patient. Even Florence Nightingale mentioned the importance of light and fresh air in the buildings housing her patients at that time. She could appreciate that recovery from a major illness could be greatly enhanced by such measures. Early morning walks, even when there is cloud cover, brings light to the pineal gland and reduces the maintaining cause of possible incarceration.
A history of shift work, which invariably plays havoc with the patient's rhythms, may lie in the background. Cocculus could be a good remedy to maintain a patient when undergoing this disruption. This evens out the rhythms until such time that they are no longer undertaking this type of work. Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are more commonly found in patients with this experience than other patients per capita.
Since my article on this subject in 2011 - 'Restoring Disrupted Circadian Rhythms: A Portal to the Inner Self', much research on this subject has come to light (excuse the pun...). It is this which prompted me to update my research and transcribe it for the reader of this blog to apply to their own health and that of their patients - whether they are a homeopath or other type of therapist with interest in this very vital subject.
'Restoring Disrupted Circadian Rhythms: A Portal to the Inner Self' by Elizabeth Adalian, Homeopathy in Practice, The Journal of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths, Winter, 2011.
'Chasing the Sun': The New Science of Sunlight and How It Shapes our Bodies and Minds' by Linda Geddes, Wellcome Collection, 2019.
'The Healing Sun: Sunlight and Health in the 21st Century' by Richard Hobday, Findhorn Press, Forres, 1999.
'A Study Links Night Exposure to Blue Light with Breast and Prostate Cancer', Barcelona Institute for Global Health, 25.4.18.
'Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not' by Florence Nightingale, CreateSpace, Independent Publishing, Platform, 2015.
'Why We Sleep' by Matthew Walker, Allen Lane, London, 2017.