Bright light therapy or light therapy is a popular method of therapy that is used in order to treat a number of conditions.
Bright light therapy is an extremely popular form of therapy that has the very real ability to help those who suffer from a variety of sleep disorders. Let’s face it, sleep disorders are the absolute worst. Sleep disorders are basically disorders that mess with the person’s routine and lifestyle and can lead to a lot of issues. These issues can be things such as a disturbed circadian rhythm, loss of productivity at work, decreased well being etc. It can really get in the way of a person in leading their best life and is something that really does need to be addressed. Fortunately, light therapy or bright light therapy or red light therapy, whatever it is that you may want to call it, is here to help us in a big way with our problems with sleep. Let us first take a look at exactly how light therapy works and the disorders that it can help with.
How it Works
Sitting in a place and sitting in bright light, that is at least 10,000 lux, for a period of about 15-30 minutes daily really can help stimulate the cells in the retinas that are connected to the hypothalamus. This is the part of the braid that is responsible for controlling the circadian rhythm of the body. The circadian rhythm is the body’s very own 24 hour internal clock that is responsible for regulating the natural cycles of sleeping and waking. If, for some reason, the circadian rhythm is disturbed, it can cause a lot of problems with sleep and also the energy levels a person has throughout the day. It can also stimulate the hypothalamus during the same time every day and can really help restore the natural circadian rhythm.
Daily exposure to this type of bright light also helps with the regulation of the production of melatonin within the body. This will allow for a much more even pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
This is a type of sleep disorder that has the ability to make people fall asleep much later at night than is normal. This is the absolute worst as they lose out on hours of sleep during the night and it also causes them to just lay in bed and waste a lot of time. These are all things that are highly undesirable. The worst part of the whole thing is that it leads to a lot of oversleeping during the day which can be very debilitating to the person who has to work during the day. The pattern of sleep that they do have can seriously interfere with the schedule of activities a person has during the time of the day. In order to correct this issue, light therapy can be used as a treatment method and it can be applied early in the morning.
Advanced sleep phase disorder
This is a type of disorder that makes people fall asleep much earlier at night than what is considered to be normal. As a result of this they also wake up much earlier during the day or sometimes they wake up even at the very late hours of night. This can cause a lot of issues. The person suffering from this condition will have a lot of issues with regular functioning during the day and also this can lead to decreased energy levels and productivity during the day, as a result this is highly problematic. In order to correct this, light therapy is usually given to people suffering from the condition earlier on at night.
Free-running or Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm
The people who suffer from this disorder usually fall asleep at different times of the day every day. For example, a person who suffers from this condition may fall asleep at 10 p.m. one day and then at midday the next day and then at 2 a.m. the next, etc. This mainly occurs to people who happen to be bling. Even in these cases, where people cannot discern or perceive visible light, it may still be very useful in treating these conditions in them. A lot of research has shown that light therapy may be particularly useful for these people when it is applied in the early hours of the morning.
A person is said to be suffering from Jet lag when they have crossed a lot of different time zones. Jet lag causes a lot of problems with sleep in people who are experiencing this condition. For people who are suffering from this condition, light therapy will be helpful in the morning when they are travelling east. When travelling to the west, bright light therapy may be able to help reduce jet lag when it is applied in the evening.
Working in Shifts
The people who suffer from this type of sleep disorder do so because of their schedule at work such as night shifts. Night shifts take place at a time when most of the people are sleeping. This type of scheduling makes you work when all your body wants to do is to sleep. On top of this, you will then have to sleep when your body is naturally programmed to be awake. This is a particularly difficult problem to solve. It can get even worse when there are changing schedules at work. When you are regularly going to bed at different times of the day, it can really make it hard to fix the internal body clock of the person. Normally, if a person works night shifts, then light therapy applied in the evening can really go a long way. In this particular example, the person getting the light therapy ought to avoid daylight when they get off work and go straight to bed.