Light Therapy Can Improve Sleep Disorders

A new study suggests that doctors who prescribe medications for sleep disorders should try recommending bright light therapy or phototherapy.  The therapy has been found to be effective for those with insomnia and circadian rhythm issues like jet lags, delayed sleep phase disorders.

A study of 16 veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, in 2010 by the University of South Carolina showed improvements in sleep problems.  The subjects were randomly exposed to 10,000 lux of light every day for 30 minutes or they were exposed to a placebo for a period of four weeks. After the completion of the therapy, those who were exposed to the bright light therapy had a reduction in nightmares. The researchers have recommended bright light therapy as a treatment method for PTSD.

There were other studies made to see how bright light therapy can affect cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT as a treatment for insomnia, a sleep disorder that millions suffer from. There was also a study made of senior patients who have difficulty sleeping or who wake up earlier than they would want to.  Many patients improved from CBT by using bright light therapy.

Bright light therapy is also beneficial for night shift workers who must stay awake. On the other hand, dimming the work lights towards the end of the shift will also help workers to sleep after their shift.  Employers are encouraged to adjust their work lights to help their workers get quality sleep after work.  It has been revealed that those who work at night tend to develop sleep disorders because of the disruption of the circadian rhythm.

Bright light therapy is also recommended for those who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  SAD is also known as winter depression. This is when a person gets depressed during certain periods of the year, usually during winter time.  Research has shown that bright light therapy, 10,000 lux for at least 30 minutes daily, is one of the best treatments for SAD.

People who have sleep disorders should consider consulting a sleep specialist about the prospect of using light therapy. During the therapy session, a person is asked to sit near a device called a light therapy box.  This machine emits a bright light that is similar to natural outdoor light.  The therapy affects certain brain chemicals that are linked to moods. The recommended time for such therapy is 30 minutes daily. Many doctors already use light therapy treatment for depression and sleep disorders.  It is even used to treat skin problems like psoriasis through it uses another type of light.

Always consult a sleep doctor to determine if bright light therapy is a good option for your sleep disorders.  Once your doctor approves of the therapy, then you can purchase a bright light therapy box.