DR. C’S JOURNAL: TIMING IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE

Timing is important in everything we do, and of course is important to health and how our bodies function.  It is a vast subject, and the only thing I can do here is to give you some ideas that might be helpful.

Your body will perform best for you if you have a daily routine; waking up at the same time every morning, and going to bed at the same time every evening keeps your circadian rhythm from getting confused. Of course, getting a good nights sleep is excessively important to your health. If you have trouble going to sleep at night or staying asleep, you can get all kinds of information over the Internet on “sleep hygiene”.

If you are an international traveler, jet lag is very important because the circadian rhythm is disrupted when you change time zones. The Internet is a rich source of information on how you might or rapidly get back into your routines. Timing of bright light and melatonin are involved.

Your metabolism also has a routine, and drugs work by targeting certain receptors, which cycle, depending on when their function is needed. “ Chronopharmacology” is a slowly developing science that will someday-if doctors, perhaps with electronic help, can ever get enough time to properly take care of the patients- be very important. As an example, certain cancer therapies vary significantly in their effects, depending upon the time of day they are given.

When I was a practicing Allergist, I took care of many Asthma patients. In the 60s and 70s there were few drugs to treat asthma, which is predominantly a nighttime disease. Giving medications, such as Theophylline, at the right time was therefore very important.

Finally, if you have any choice, you might arrange for your surgery during the first half of the day. Surgeons make less errors in the morning, when their minds are well rested.

—Dr. C.