Can Light Therapy Help with Insomnia?
You know the feeling: You toss and turn, trying to get comfortable. You’ve tried reading books, buying new pillows, exercising until you’re at the point of exhaustion, cutting out caffeine, and counting flock upon flock of sheep. No matter what you try, though, you’re still unable to fall asleep and stay asleep more often than not.
Hesitant to try medications, you may be wondering if there are more natural alternatives to helping you sleep. A friend told you about bright light therapy and how it might help people with sleep disorders. You’re unsure, because using light to help you sleep seems counter-intuitive.
So, can light therapy help with insomnia?
The Short Answer – Yes!
Bright light therapy helps mimic the natural patterns of sunlight that are present during warmer months. Your body’s natural circadian rhythms – the sleep/wake cycle – is governed in part by sunlight.
In cold, dark months when sunlight is less prevalent, your body’s circadian rhythm can get thrown off. This imbalance can lead to irritability, change in appetite, lack of interest in normal activities, and change in sleep patterns. By mimicking the bright light found on a summer morning, your body can reset these rhythms and get you to that feeling of wellness and happiness you often feel during nicer weather.
What Does This Mean for Insomnia?
With insomnia, your circadian rhythms are interrupted, causing you to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Using bright light therapy to mirror the sun, your body is more likely to produce dopamine and endorphins, as well as regain balance of the sleep/wake cycles.
Individuals who have tried bright light therapy over a period of several weeks saw improvement in their natural sleep patterns, allowing them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer than before bright light therapy.
How Should I Use Bright Light Therapy for My Insomnia?
Bright light therapy for insomnia can be conducted exactly the same as for other conditions, such as depression. You will need a light source that is at least 10,000 lux, so a regular desk lamp just won’t do.
Sit under the bright light, but not looking directly into it, for up to 30 minutes per morning, preferably within an hour of waking. If you experience problems, such as headaches or dry eyes, try putting your back to the light and moving a little farther away from it.
As always, don’t try bright light therapy without consulting your doctor first!
Your Top Source for Light Therapy Boxes
At the Sunbox Company, we want to make sure that everyone can get the quality sleep they need, no matter what season. Our high-quality bright light therapy boxes are specially manufactured for bright light therapy, promoting overall health and wellness for everyone. Check out our online store today!