Studies have shown that bright light therapy increases people's energy level and alertness in the daytime as well as help to maintain good work mood and motivation
What is bright light therapy?
A bright light device efficiently compensates for lack of natural light in the dark season. With bright light therapy, increasingly many people have managed to beat the winter blues. A bright light device is a pleasant to give your mood and energy levels a lift when skies are grey. Research shows that bright light therapy increases energy levels and alertness, and helps maintain high work motivation.
How does bright light therapy works?
The body’s circadian rhythm is regulated by melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland. The body produced this hormone normally during the night. Melatonin is a bit like the body’s own sleeping pill: when there is melatonin in the body, the person will feel tired.
Morning light is the strongest stimulus outside the body that regulates the circadian rhythm. Of all the factors that regulate the circadian rhythm, the function of melatonin is best understood. Research shows clearly that light strongly affects the secretion of melatonin.
When waking up on a summer morning, light stops the production of melatonin. In winter, however, it is still dark when it is time to get up. If melatonin is produced in the morning after waking up (as is the case in the dark season, i.e. in the autumn and winter), the body clock goes out of sync, which affects the circadian rhythm. This leads to the “winter blues”, which normally last from October to March. Symptoms include craving for carbohydrates and sugary foods, difficulty waking up, excessive sleepiness, lethargy, and tiredness during the day. So the shortage of daylight hours is the main culprit behind the winter blues.
Summer morning light - bright light therapy - is needed on autumn and winter mornings to stop melatonin production and keep circadian rhythm in sync.
When the production of melatonin is stopped with bright light therapy in the morning, melatonin production will start at the right time in the evening. Bright light therapy is most efficient in the morning right after waking.
Bright light research
Bright light therapy has been studied in Europe and North America for nearly 30 years. Bright light therapy has been studied widely in Finland also.
Research has yielded promising results in the treatment of depression and sleep disorders when medical treatment is not an option (as in case of the Parkinson’s disease and depression during pregnancy). The results of bright light therapy have been encouraging also in medical conditions with clearly seasonal patterns or sleep disorders.
New research results have been gained of the benefits of bright light therapy in preventing daytime exhaustion and tiredness with SAD and subclinical SAD patients. Research shows that bright light therapy improves overall wellbeing. Read more about the research. Read more about the research. According to a new study, bright light therapy helps SAD patients after as little as one session. Read more about the research.
The study, on the positive impacts on bright light therapy on women suffering from depression during pregnancy, is especially promising, as bright light therapy has no side effects. Read more about the research. New research insights have also been gained on the benefits of bright light therapy in treating non-seasonal depression in teenagers. Read more about the research.
Innolux bright light devices
Innolux bright light devices can be used in bright light therapy, which efficiently compensated for the lack of natural light during winter months. Innolux bright light devices are medical devices certified by Det Norske Veritas, which guarantees their efficiency and safety of use. The devices meet all requirements set for good bright light therapy, without any side effects such as headache or tired eyes.
For the first two weeks, bright light therapy should be used daily, and later on five times a week throughout the winter. The benefit of the therapy can usually be seen within a week: the user will feel as lively and energetic as in the summer.
Not all lights are suited for bright light therapy, as the minimum illumination requirement for a bright light device is 2 500 lux. The recommendation is to start with two hours of bright light therapy a day. The daily duration of the therapy can later be shortened to half an hour a day. The therapy is most efficient in the morning between 6 and 10. In the evening, bright light therapy can cause difficulties falling asleep, and so it is not recommended after 6 pm.
Depending on the type of bright light device, the correct distance from the light is 40-145 cm. This means the distance of the face from the device. The closer to the light you are, the more efficient and therefore shorter each therapy session can be. There is no need to look at the light directly, as long as it is stays in your line of vision. Bright light therapy does not interrupt any of your everyday activities, as you can read, eat, work, and watch TV during it.
USING A BRIGHT LIGHT DEVICE
Innolux bright light devices are efficient and easy to use.
Bright light therapy is naturally “hands-free”, so it takes up none of your valuable time: you can read, eat breakfast, work, or even watch TV at the same time.
Depending on the type of bright light device you choose, the most effective distance from it is 40-145 cm.
You can feel the benefits even after only 15 minutes of use. The therapy is most efficient first thing in the morning.