Can Bright Light Therapy Help Mood & Agitation in Those with Dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia impact ever-increasing numbers of Americans. An estimated 5.6 million people over the age of 65 live with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
This debilitating disease robs people of their memories, their abilities to perform simple tasks, and their enjoyment of everyday life.
Among the many symptoms of dementia are mood swings and irritability, as patients become easily frustrated and lash out at those who are trying to help them. In many, these problems become worse toward the end of the day as the sun sets, or in winter where there’s less sunlight overall.
Many families watching their loved ones suffer from these mood swings and difficulties want to explore ways to help ease their relative’s difficulties without resorting to expensive, potentially harmful medication. Because of this, families are turning to bright light therapy in higher numbers to help ease the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s on the mood and agitation of their loved ones.
What Is Bright Light Therapy?
Bright light therapy is the practice of regularly sitting under a bright light lamp of 10,000 lux or brighter to help reset the brain and balance mood.
This is best done in the morning, shortly after waking, for 15 to 30 minutes. Many who utilize bright light therapy read the morning paper, watch television, or enjoy breakfast while sitting under the light.
Bright light therapy stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, resetting mood and regulating the natural circadian rhythm. This helps balance mood, improve overall well-being, and contributes to better sleep.
Can Bright Light Therapy Help Dementia Patients?
Many dementia patients experience sleep disturbance and night waking as part of the symptoms of their disease.
Because these patients don’t receive enough sleep, they are often more agitated during the day and experience more noticeable mood swings.
With bright light therapy, however, the natural sleep/wake cycle can be slowly restored, allowing for better-quality, more restful sleep in dementia patients. As sleep quality improves, many see the mood swings and agitation decrease, boosting overall quality of life.
As always, talk with your loved one’s doctor before beginning bright light therapy to see if it’s deemed safe for your loved one’s individual condition.
#1 Source for Bright Light Therapy Boxes
For more than 33 years, the SunBox Company has provided people throughout the world with high-quality light boxes for bright light therapy. Whether you have a loved one suffering from dementia, you experience seasonal depression, or just could use a little help getting through the gloomy winter season, we’ve got options for you. Please call us today and we’ll help you with your questions and assist with a choice that best fits your needs and lifestyle.