Is Bright Light Therapy Safe for Children?

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Is Bright Light Therapy Safe for Children?

When people discuss seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression, the focus typically is on adults who suffer from these conditions. However, a growing number of adolescents and children are being diagnosed with depression in various forms.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates between 2 and 3 percent of children aged 6 to 12 and between 6 and 8 percent of adolescents 12 to 17 have been diagnosed with some form of depression. Depression also is often found in conjunction with a variety of other conditions found in children, including autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, and ADHD.

Since we know that bright light therapy is safe for adults experiencing depression, parents with children and teens suffering from depression may wonder: Is bright light therapy safe for kids?

What Is Bright Light Therapy?

Bright light therapy is the practice of sitting under a bright light – 10,000 lux or higher – for 30 to 60 minutes each morning. This light mimics natural sunlight and helps regulate Circadian rhythms. When Circadian rhythms are in sync, we sleep better, our moods are more regulated, and we feel more energized.

This regulation is especially important for people who suffer from depression. Many of the benefits of bright light therapy mirror the benefits of prescription antidepressants. For some, bright light therapy allows them to decrease or eliminate the use of prescription medications.

Is Bright Light Therapy Safe for Children?

Yes, bright light therapy is safe for children and teens. It is a natural, non-invasive therapy that can be incredibly helpful in the regulation of mood and sleep, especially in children who live in colder climates that don’t get a lot of sun during the winter months.

Some common side effects of bright light therapy, including dry eyes and headaches, can be improved by facing away from the bright light therapy lamp, sitting slightly farther away from the light source, or splitting the therapy into two shorter sessions.

Bright light therapy is best practiced in the morning, within an hour of waking. While it can be difficult to fit this practice in during busy mornings before school, your child could sit under a bright light lamp while eating breakfast or finishing homework. If it’s not possible to devote a full 30 minutes to bright light therapy in the morning, doing a short session in the morning and a short session after school may help.

Keeping a regular practice of bright light therapy can help your child:

  • Improve sleep
  • Maintain better behavior and performance in school
  • Decrease dependence on medication
  • Improve interest in favorite activities

As with any new therapy, consult with your child’s doctor before starting bright light therapy.

Your Online Resource for Light Therapy Boxes

At the Sunbox Company, we want to help your child improve school performance, regulate emotions, and get better sleep. We are the leading provider of bright light boxes to adults and children alike, and we’ve helped countless people find relief from the symptoms of depression. See everything we have to offer in our online store!

201 Broadway street, Suite 220, Frederick, MD 21701 240-651-3286 1-800-548-3968 301-869-5980 info@sunbox.com