What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy is used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other conditions. SAD is a mood disorder that happens at a particular time of the year, but usually in winter. Light therapy employs artificial light, which mimics the properties of sunlight, to stimulate brain chemicals that are responsible for mood and sleep in order to ease the symptoms of SAD.
How does it work?
During a light therapy session, you need to sit beside a light therapy box and allow the spectrum of light it emits to enter your eyes indirectly. Although your eyes are open, you must not look directly at the light box because the bright emission can damage your eyes. You have to perform this therapy on a regular basis, preferably early in the morning, for it to produce positive results. Set a schedule for it and try your best to stick to it.
What conditions can light therapy treat?
Light therapy may not necessarily cure SAD or other forms of depression and health disorders, but it may alleviate the symptoms, boost your energy levels and improve the overall state of your wellbeing. It can also help with the following conditions:
- Sleep disorders
- Adjusting to night shift work
- Jet lag
- Nonseasonal depression
Are there other therapies similar to light therapy?
Dawn - Dusk Simulation (DDS) is the counterpart of Bright Light Therapy that improves your circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake pattern. DDS involves the use of a lamp which emits light simulating dawn. Unlike light therapy, DDS doesn’t require scheduling as the signals from the device work automatically while you are asleep; it emits low levels of light when it’s night time and illuminates when it’s morning.
How does Dawn - Dusk Simulation work?
Set your waking time and sleep duration on the DDS device. You also have to determine the combination and gradual changes of brightness levels from sunrise to sunset. Lower light intensity is often used to indicate dusk.
What are its benefits?
Research has shown that DDS produces antidepressant effects and resolves irregular sleep patterns. Aside from these, it also offers the following benefits:
- Makes waking up in the morning easier
- Facilitates alertness
- Increases energy levels
- Makes sleeping at night easier