Sleep is important to our health and wellbeing as without proper rest our brain cannot work properly. We all know the refreshing feel when we enjoy a good night sleep and the irritation we feel when we have insufficient sleep. We need at least 6-9 hours of sleep daily, during which we go through several sleep cycles. Each cycle consists of several sleep stages. Each cycle begins with the Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) stage which then progresses to Rapid EYE Movement (REM) stage during which we dream. The NREM consists of about 80% of our sleep cycle. It has been proven that light therapy has been successful in providing relief for people with irregular sleep cycle.
Our sleep cycles are governed by our internal biological clock. Researchers have proven that exposure to outdoor light is essential in maintaining our internal biological clock. With the modern lifestyle, most of the adults spend their day indoors with artificial light. This leaves them in a state of light deficiency, the indoor lights are not bright enough to mimic that of the suns. This inadvertently affects our internal biological clock’s operation. In addition to this, the hormone melatonin in the body helps promote sleepiness in the body and maintains the sleep cycle. Melatonin, which acts as a marker of your circadian phase or biological timing, is deactivated with bright light. Melatonin reduction will obviously affect your sleep.
That is where bright light therapy comes in. It is usually administered to people who suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Light therapy can help reset your biological clock so that you can fall back into your regular sleep pattern and lead a normal life. Life therapy is very simple and involves exposing your eyes to intense but safe amounts of light for a specific and regular length of time. This artificial light mimics the outdoor light and used to affect the body clock in the same way that sunlight does. It uses visible light and filters out ultraviolet light.
The most common form of administering the light therapy is through a light box. This form of therapy has been proven to be most successful in resetting the sleep patterns in patients. Light therapy is also used for people suffering from jet lag as this hastens their ability to adapt to the new time zone.