Using Light Therapy to Correct Age-Related Sleep Issues
Note: Please check with your doctor to make sure light therapy is a safe option for you.
One of the things that goes along with being eligible for Medicare, collecting Social Security, and getting “senior discounts” are a few other things that are far less welcome. For example, many of us experience disruptions in our sleep patterns as we age, leaving us drowsy during the day and walking the floor at 3 AM.
As we get older, we tend to spend less time in “deep sleep,” also called REM sleep. This is sometimes caused by things like obstructive sleep apnea, or an increase in stress due to changing lifestyles, grief, or depression. In addition, the connection between this circadian rhythm and our sleep-wake cycle weakens. We get tired earlier in the day and frequently wake sooner in the morning. In addition to being an annoyance that keeps us from enjoying life fully, research has also linked lack of sleep with impaired memory and disrupted metabolism,
Circadian rhythms are the “internal body clocks” that coordinate our bodies’ systems with the 24-hour day. When they are properly in sync, these rhythms promote reliable, restorative sleep. However, when these circadian rhythms are disrupted, this imbalance often creates significant sleeping problems.
There are many reasons why the link between our bodies’ internal clock and our sleep-wake cycles slip out of whack as we get older. One reason may be because we tend to spend less time outdoors as we age. When we get less sunlight, our bodies produce less serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s crucial to regulating circadian rhythm. Recalibrating our circadian rhythms can be extremely helpful in improving the quality of our sleep.
Using Light Therapy to Normalize Sleep Patterns
Studies indicate that older people who are experiencing interrupted sleep patterns can benefit from light therapy, which appears to shift the body clock to a normal nighttime sleeping schedule.
Bright light therapy helps promote increased production of serotonin, balancing out our sleep-wake cycles and helping us stay more alert during the daytime. Well-aligned circadian rhythms can reduce or even prevent insomnia, nighttime waking, and early rising syndrome. Early indications also suggest that using light therapy to reduce disturbances in circadian rhythms can result in an improvement in the cognitive state and quality of life in early-stage, Alzheimer’s-type dementia.
Not all Bright Light Therapy Boxes Are the Same
Whether shopping for yourself or someone you love, be sure to purchase the best quality light therapy boxes available. The SunBox Company’s products are the original, top-quality bright light therapy boxes, delivering everything you need from a bright light therapy routine backed up by our commitment to customer service and support.