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Optimal Schedules of Light Exposure for Rapidly Correcting Circadian Misalignment

Figure 1

Comparison of schedules for a 12-hour shift of the light-dark cycle.

Predicted circadian phase, indicated by simulated core body temperature minima (CBTmin, magenta triangles), is plotted against the pattern of exposure to bright light (10,000 lux, yellow), moderate light (100 lux, white), dim light (5 lux, gray), and darkness (0 lux, black). Predicted CBTmin under noisy light levels (See supplemental figure S1), with circadian period randomly sampled from an experimentally measured distribution [18], is plotted for 20 hypothetical subjects (blue circles). Circadian amplitude at CBTmin is indicated by the brightness of the markers, with white corresponding to zero amplitude. The timing of entrained CBTmin in the new time zone is indicated by the dotted line. The subjects are initially entrained to a 16∶8 LD-cycle in moderate light. At day 0 the schedule shift occurs. The six schedules are compared are: (A) The abruptly shifted LD-cycle; also called a slam shift. (B) Times of light exposure and avoidance in the new time zone are prescribed to quicken re-entrainment. Phase delays of 1 hour/day are assumed. Based on the recommendations proposed by R. Sack (See Supplementary Appendix of [49].) (C) Times of light exposure and avoidance are prescribed, with an assumed phase delay of 2 hours/day. Based on the recommendations proposed by J. Waterhouse et.al. (See Table 2 of [50].) (D) The sleep/dark region is gradually delayed, with 2 hours of bright light before bed and 2 hours of light avoidance after wake. Assumed delay of 2 hours/day. Based on the recommendations proposed by C. Eastman et.al. in [51]. (E) A PRC is used to place a series of 5 hour light stimuli, in a background of dim light, in order to produce a large delay. The timings are refined using a model [16]. Proposed by D. Dean et.al. (See Figure S1:E1 in [9].) (F) Our optimal schedule for complete re-entrainment in minimum time. A model [16] is used to compute the mathematically optimal schedule of light exposure (See Methods) which resets the model in the least possible amount of time. (G) Our optimal schedule for partial re-entrainment in minimum time, designed to place CBTmin at the beginning of the sleep/dark region as quickly as possible (See Designing schedules for Partial Reentrainment in supplemental text S1).

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003523.g001