How to Use Light Therapy to Sleep Better

Here you can get information about How to Use Light Therapy to Sleep Better. Light therapy are often a helpful intervention for people affected by sleep disorders also as those that want to urge a far better night’s sleep. Light therapy can involve exposure to natural sunlight or the use of a special light box for a specified period every day. Ask your doctor before beginning light therapy to sleep better.

What exactly is light therapy?

Light therapy is exposure to a light source that’s brighter than typical indoor light, but not as bright as direct sunlight. It involves employing a light box for a selected length of your time and at an equivalent time of a day. You’ll roll in the hay from the comfort of your home.

Light therapy is employed for a several differing types of conditions, including various sleep disorders, jet lag, depression, and seasonal major affective disorder (SAD). Also referred to as phototherapy, light therapy may help improve the standard of your sleep by affecting certain brain chemicals related to your sleep and mood.

Can light therapy improve your sleep? 

If you’ve got insomnia, it might be thanks to an interruption in your biological time, which is linked together with your sleep-wake cycle. Your circadian rhythm is a component of your body’s internal clock that causes you to feel alert and awake during the daytime and sleepy in the dark.

When your circadian rhythm becomes disrupted, you’ll experience symptoms that range from daytime sleepiness to depression. When used correctly, light therapy can encourage a circadian rhythm reset which, in turn, may help improve your sleep and other symptoms. Research trialsTrusted Source have shown the advantages of sunshine therapy for people with sleep disorders and depression. And a 2016 meta-analysis found that light therapy is effective for sleep problems generally, especially those involving circadian rhythms and insomnia.

What Can Light Therapy Help With?

Light therapy can help relieve sleep issues related to insomnia, biological time sleep disorders, jet lag, seasonal affective disorder, and depression.


Insomnia describes a uniform difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or lack of overall quality sleep. When experienced multiple times every week for 3 months or more, it’s considered chronic. Insomnia can occur on its own, or it’s going to be comorbid with a psychological state disorder like depression or anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, or another health condition. Light therapy are often effective9 in relieving insomnia in many of those cases.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Some people experience insomnia due to an underlying circadian rhythm disorder. These sleep disorders can develop naturally, as within the case of utmost night owls, or they will be brought on by working an overnight schedule. Even fatigue is technically a circadian rhythm disorder. Light therapy is one among the first treatments for these disorders.

Jet Lag

Jet lag occurs when your body travels across time zones, and your circadian rhythm remains synchronized together with your old location. Until it catches up to your new location, you’ll feel sleepy within the middle of the day or awaken at 3 am. Simply spending time outside are often a strong treatment for fatigue, by helping your mechanism realign to the sun. Although, light therapy may help accelerate this process10 in cases of utmost fatigue when you’ve traveled across several time zones.

Seasonal major affective disorder

Seasonal major affective disorder may be a sort of seasonal depression. For many people, it occurs within the fall and winter, although some experience it within the spring and summer. SAD is brought on by the changes in sunlight related to the changing of the seasons, and it can vary in intensity, counting on how faraway from the equator you reside. Sleep issues often include difficulty falling asleep and hypersomnia, a bent to continue feeling sleepy despite getting ten or more hours of sleep per night.

Individuals with SAD have difficulty regulating serotonin11, and overproduce melatonin, leading to depressed mood and lethargy. Light therapy can lift their mood and have an antidepressant effect12. One study found that only one 1-hour session of sunshine therapy can significantly reduce depression scores13 for people with SAD. Light therapy also can prevent SAD symptoms within the first place. In comparison to those receiving no therapy, individuals with SAD who practice light therapy during the winter are 36% less likely to experience a depressive episode.


Individuals with non-seasonal depression also commonly experience sleep issues14, including insomnia, hypersomnia, and excessive daytime sleepiness. While the research is a smaller amount conclusive, light therapy also seems to profit individuals with non-seasonal depression15. Light therapy alone are often beneficial for these individuals, although light therapy together with an antidepressant tends to be more effective.

What to know about selecting a light box

Before buying a light box, ask your doctor about the issues you’re having together with your sleep. There are many reasons you would possibly be having trouble sleeping well. Your doctor can help determine if your sleep issues are due to a circadian rhythm disruption or another underlying cause. Other treatments, with or without light therapy, could also be needed.

Be sure to speak to your doctor about the security of a light-weight box if you:

  • Have an eye fixed problem that would be aggravated by a light-weight box
  • have a condition, like lupus, that creates your skin sensitive to light
  • have manic depression, because light therapy may trigger mania
  • take certain medications, like antibiotics or anti-inflammatories that increase light sensitivity
  • take the supplement St. John’s wort, which may increase light sensitivity

The most important feature of a light-weight box is that the light. confirm that it filters harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.

Don’t use light boxes meant for skin conditions, tanning beds, or sun lamps. These sorts of light devices emit UV light. Not only are they the incorrect quite light for sleep and mood disorders, but they will also damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, you’ll need a light-weight intensity of 2,000 to 10,000 lux.

Before you purchase a light-weight box, believe how you would like to use it. Some light boxes can sit on a table or desk. You’ll also buy a tall light box that sits on the ground. If a light-weight box is just too cumbersome, you’ll want to think about using LED glasses. Light therapy glasses are more portable and supply more freedom of movement. A recent small studyTrusted Source found the effectiveness of sunshine therapy glasses to be like a light-weight box. Ask your doctor for recommendations and choose the choice that works best for your lifestyle.

How to use light therapy for sleep

Depending on the sort of circadian rhythm disruption you’ve got, light therapy is either wiped out in the morning, soon after awakening, or within the early evening hours, before you begin feeling drowsy. Your light box should be situated about 16 to 24 inches from your face. The light has got to reach your eyes, though you shouldn’t look directly into the box. It’s fine to eat, read, or use a device during your session.

The important thing is to show yourself to the light for a group amount of your time — no more, no less. The length of your sessions might be half-hour to 2 hours, counting on the sunshine intensity and your doctor’s recommendation. Another key factor is consistency, so attempt to persist with it. You’ll not notice any improvement for a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Whatever device you select, make certain to read the security precautions and directions provided.

Are there any side effects? 

Light therapy is generally safe, though some people have minor side effects, such as:

  • Eyestrain
  • headache
  • nausea
  • irritability

The side effects usually don’t last long or beyond the first few sessions. If your side effects are severe, stop light therapy and contact your doctor.

How to Use Light Therapy to Sleep Better

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