Bright Light Therapy: Benefits, Uses, and Tips

by Eric Delloye — Опубликовано в Luminette

Light therapy is touted as an effective treatment for sleep and mood disorders and more. Read on to learn more about it, including its benefits and uses.

Do you know that, on average,  we spend 90% of our time indoors ? From our living spaces to enclosed vehicles to indoor workspaces, we spend most of our time away from sunlight. 

Our indoor lifestyle results in light deprivation (not getting enough sun exposure). However, our bodies need sunlight to function properly, so inadequate sun exposure leads to many problems, such as irregular sleep, winter blues, and low energy, amongst others.

This begs the question: How can one combat the problem of inadequate sun exposure without disrupting one's daily routine? 

This detailed guide will explain everything you need to know about light therapy. We’ll discuss what it is, how it works, its benefits, and more.

How does bright light therapy work?

Bright light therapy is a treatment method involving eye exposure to sunlight-mimicking artificial lights to treat conditions caused by inadequate sunlight exposure.

We need sunlight for our bodies to function properly. This is because sunlight impacts the production of important hormones like serotonin and melatonin.

Let’s take a peek into the science behind it!

When we are exposed to sunlight, specialised cells in the retina of our eyes detect the light and send signals to the brain. The signals trigger the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which regulates moods and affects energy levels.

Also, upon detecting light, the retina’s photoreceptors send signals to the brain’s master clock (the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus), which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

Upon receiving these signals about light exposure, this “master clock” causes the body to suppress the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Inhibiting melatonin production then promotes wakefulness and alertness.

That is, sunlight directly impacts the hormone that affects bodily functions like mood and energy levels and the one that promotes wakefulness and alertness during the day. Thus, getting enough sun exposure can help you feel energised and stay more awake and alert during the day.

Conversely, not getting enough sunlight can result in physiological issues like:

  • Lack of energy

  • Inability to stay awake or focus during the day

  • Sleep problems at night

  • Mood instability

Thankfully, these conditions caused by inadequate sunlight exposure can be treated by getting adequate sunlight. One way to do this is to go outdoors more often and soak in natural sunlight.

Needless to say, getting enough outdoor light may be impossible. One’s lifestyle (e.g., working indoors) can make it impossible. Even the season of the year can make it impossible, as winters come with limited sunlight.

This is where bright light therapy comes in! In light therapy, the individual with a condition caused by light deprivation is exposed to bright light from an artificial light source that mimics sunlight.

The light compensates for the inadequate sun exposure. It enters the individual’s eyes as natural sunlight would and signals the brain to produce the essential hormones to help with the condition.

You may wonder, why not simply switch on your indoor lighting so your eyes can receive bright light from your indoor light sources?

Regular indoor lights do not produce enough lux. Lux is the unit of illuminance or the intensity of light a light source produces. Indoor lights produce about 200-700 lux , which does not compare to what sunlight produces.

Source: Carex

You need about 10,000 lux of light to trigger the body to regulate important hormones like serotonin and melatonin. Indoor lighting simply does not produce light with that level of intensity.

This is why using specialised light therapy devices is important. These light therapy devices are specially designed to mimic sunlight or produce the same light intensity as sunlight (usually 10,000 lux).

Also read: Harmful Effect of Lack of Light. 

Types of bright light therapy devices

A light therapy device is any artificial light source designed to emit sunlight-mimicking light to treat conditions caused by light deprivation.

There are different types of light therapy devices, including:

Panel-style light therapy lamps

Panel-style light therapy lamps are large light therapy lamps with a large light surface that resembles a panel. Behind the large light surface are fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes that emit 10,000 lux of bright, full-spectrum light.

With their large light surfaces emitting 10,000 lux of light, panel-style light therapy boxes or lamps produce more light than other bright light therapy lamps.

Also, they produce 10,000 lux of light from the greatest distances. Some panel-style light therapy lamps can produce 10,000 lux of light from as far as 50cm.

Remember that to use a light therapy lamp, you simply switch it on and sit close to it for a designated amount of time. If you move farther away from the light, the intensity of the light entering your eyes is less.

If you want to get 10,000 lux of light even when moving considerably away from your light therapy box or lamp, consider the panel-style light therapy lamp.

a. Advantages of panel-style light therapy lamps

  • They produce 10,000 lux of light from the greatest distances (as much as 50cm).

  • Their large light-emitting surfaces produce a good amount of light to illuminate spaces.

  • More than one person can use one panel-style light during a light therapy session.

b. Disadvantages of panel-style light therapy lamps

  • They cause light pollution as the overly bright light from the lamp will disturb the surroundings.

  • They are relatively bulky.

  • They are immobile, so you move around and do your normal activities during your light therapy sessions.

Compact light therapy lamps

Compact light therapy lamps are relatively smaller light therapy lamps designed to be lightweight and portable, so they’re easy to move around.

Compared to their panel-style counterparts, compact light therapy lamps have a smaller light-emitting surface area. As a result, they have slightly lower light intensity and coverage.

To compensate for the lower light intensity, the blue part of the spectrum is often enriched. Blue light is more effective than full-spectrum light in alleviating the effects of limited sunlight exposure, particularly in improving mood and increasing energy levels.

So enriching the blue part of the spectrum empowers compact light therapy lamps to offer the same therapeutic effect as the bigger panel-style light therapy lamps with higher light intensity.

There are certain specialised compact light therapy lamps built for specific purposes. An example is Drive, designed to enable individuals to have light therapy sessions while driving.

Drive is easily clipped to the sun visor of your vehicle. The specialised device sends sun-imitating, glare-free light into your eyes as you drive. The light doesn’t interfere with driving in any way. It just gives you the goodness of sunshine.

If you drive to work and do not have the time to sit by a light therapy lamp for an early-morning light therapy session, Drive was created for you.

a. Advantages of compact light therapy lamps

  • They take up less space on tabletops.

  • They are easier to move around and travel with.

  • They are not overly bright, so they disturb the surroundings less.

b. Disadvantages of compact light therapy lamps

  • They have lower light intensity, so you must sit very close to the light for your sessions.

  • The light is more focused; thus, you need to reduce head movement during your sessions to reap optimum results.

  • They are immobile, meaning you’ll be in one place throughout your session.

Light therapy glasses (or visors)

Light therapy glasses (also called visors) are special light therapy devices designed to be worn as glasses. They solve the immobility issue of light therapy lamps by allowing people to have light therapy sessions while they go about their normal activities.

The light therapy glasses are equipped with a special light source on an eyewear. When you wear the eyewear (as you would regular eyeglasses), the light source sends a bright, sun-mimicking light into your eyes.

Light therapy glasses differ from light therapy lamps that require you to sit in one place during light box therapy. You can go about your normal activities while wearing the light therapy glasses.

You can wear light therapy glasses when:

  • Brushing your teeth

  • Eating breakfast

  • Reading a book

  • Working on your computer

When you wear the light therapy glasses, the light source is just over your eyes. Thus, even when you move about during the treatment, the light will always be at the same distance from your eyes, so your eyes always get 10,000 lux of light for maximum therapeutic effect.

If sitting in one place throughout your light therapy session is not something you want, light therapy glasses are for you! Order the Luminette 3 light therapy glasses today!

a. Advantages of light therapy glasses

  • They give you freedom of movement during your light therapy sessions.

  • They offer a more calibrated light therapy treatment for better and quicker results.

  • They send the sun-mimicking light directly into your eyes so they do not disturb the surroundings.

  • They are portable and easy to transport.

  • They allow you to have your light therapy treatment anywhere, both in indoor environments and even outdoors.

b. Disadvantages of light therapy glasses

  • Only one person can use one pair of light therapy glasses at any time.

  • They can be uncomfortable for people who do not like wearing eyeglasses.

What are the uses of bright light therapy?

Different research has found bright light therapy effective in easing the symptoms of some physiological problems. Bright light therapy can be used to:

Treat winter blues

Bright light therapy can be used to treat feelings of deep sadness associated with the cold winter months.

Ever wondered why a feeling of unhappiness is usually rampant when fall and winter replace the warmth of spring? It’s not just because of the cold of winter. Instead, it’s mainly because the winter months come with reduced sunlight.

The sun rises late and sets early, and daytime is less sunny. As a result, people do not get enough sunlight during winter, and their bodies produce less of the feel-good hormone serotonin.

With the cold outside and the low serotonin levels, low mood and feelings of deep sadness set in.

Thankfully, light therapy is used to compensate for the reduced sunlight during the winter months and treat winter blues. The light therapy device floods your eyes with sun-imitating light to chase away the blues and lift your spirits.

Increase energy levels

Light therapy can be used to increase energy levels because it stimulates serotonin production .

The feel-good hormone not only affects mood but also energy levels. Low serotonin levels deplete your energy, making you feel tired and lethargic.

Bright light therapy can boost your serotonin levels when you feel wiped out. And that will make you feel less tired and more energised.

In one study that investigated the effect of Luminette light therapy on workers who did not have access to daylight, workers noticed their level of fatigue reduced and their energy levels increased after treatment.

Treat sleep disorders

Light therapy can also be used to treat various sleep problems  because it regulates the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Melatonin is the hormone that controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle. It tells the body when to sleep and when to wake up.

When your eyes detect natural light, they signal your brain to tell your body to stop producing melatonin.

And when the hormone is low in your body, you’ll feel awake. But when darkness comes, your eyes signal your brain to tell your body to increase melatonin production. And high levels of the hormone in your body make you sleep.

So, if you feel sleepy when you should be awake or cannot fall asleep when you should be sleeping, you can use bright light therapy to manipulate melatonin production to treat the sleeping problem.

Consider how light therapy helps different sleep problems, such as:

  • Advanced sleep phase disorder : This sleep disorder causes people to go to sleep too early, only to wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Light therapy at the start of the evening reduces melatonin levels and promotes wakefulness. This prevents people from falling asleep too early and helps them develop regular sleep cycles.

  • Delayed sleep phase disorder: This sleep disorder is characterised by being unable to sleep at the start of the night. Sufferers fall asleep in the middle of the night or even later and, as a result, have difficulty waking up when it’s morning. Morning light therapy promotes wakefulness and vitality throughout the day, and that makes it easier to fall asleep at nighttime.

You may also like: How Can I Wake Up Feeling Refreshed Every Morning? Tips and Techniques.

Improve cognitive performance

Light therapy is used to improve cognitive performance because of its effect on wakefulness and alertness. Bright light entering your eyes starts a chain of reactions that lowers melatonin levels, promoting wakefulness and alertness.

As you may know, alertness is critical to productivity. When you are focused, you’re better equipped to process information and generate creative solutions.

Light therapy in the morning helps you stay awake and alert during the day, making you more productive.

One study even found that Luminette light therapy treatment is as effective as taking an afternoon nap in improving cognitive flexibility.

Also read: How Can Light Therapy Revolutionise Your Creative Process? Uncover The Truth.

Fight jet lag

Bright light therapy can be used to fight jet lag because of how bright light regulates the sleep-inducing hormone.

When you travel quickly across several time zones, your biological clock will be disrupted, causing you to suffer the temporary sleep disorder called jet lag.

What causes jet lag is that your body’s internal clock is still attuned to the time of the former location despite you being in another timezone. Thus, when it’s nighttime in the former location, you’ll feel drowsy even though it’s daytime in the new place you’re in.

Light therapy can help you reset your body’s internal clock . It systematically suppresses sleep-inducing melatonin, banishing daytime sleepiness and ultimately helping you align your body’s sleep-wake schedule to your new location.

You may also like: Effective Strategies For Travelers: Natural Ways to Overcome Jetlag and Improve Sleep.

Adapt to shiftwork

Bright light therapy can be used to reset your body clock and adapt it to shiftwork times because it regulates the sleep-inducing hormone.

Remember that night shifts require you to be at work when your body clock says you should be sleeping. Since your body is unaware of your night shift, it produces melatonin when it detects darkness. And that makes you sleepy when you should be awake and alert at work.

Carrying out light therapy in the evening, before the night shift, inhibits melatonin secretion, promoting wakefulness and alertness.

Thus, you’ll be less sleepy and more awake and attentive during work. And that helps you fall asleep sooner after work, ultimately adapting your sleep-wake cycles to the shift times.

What are the benefits of bright light therapy?

  • Light therapy is effective: Light therapy is an effective treatment method for many physiological conditions. The idea that simple eye exposure to sun-imitating light can help treat some physical and mental health conditions may sound too good to be true. But it is true. Light therapy does work. Studies have found bright light therapy effective in treating physiological conditions (such as sleep problems, mood disorders, winter blues, lack of energy, and more).

  • Light therapy is non-invasive: Light therapy is a non-invasive treatment method that does not require surgical incisions or penetration of the body cavities. With light therapy, no one will cut your skin or insert instruments into the body. Non-invasive treatment methods are less risky, come with less discomfort, and offer faster recovery time.

  • Light therapy is well tolerated, with minimal side effects: Medications for treating physiological conditions may have adverse effects or interactions with other drugs. However, light therapy is a safe treatment method with minimal side effects. The best devices for light therapy (like Luminette 3 ) pose no risk to the eyes and do not emit harmful UV rays like sunlight.

  • Light therapy is convenient: Light therapy can be easily administered at home. Administering light therapy used to require simply sitting by a light therapy lamp for about 30 minutes each day. While that was simple enough, Luminette 3 now makes light therapy treatment even more convenient. With Luminette 3, light therapy treatment requires only wearing specialised eyeglasses so you can continue with your normal day-to-day routine during your light therapy session.

  • Light therapy is complimentary to other treatments: Bright light therapy is a treatment method that is safe and easy to combine with other treatments, such as medication or counselling. In fact, combining light therapy with other treatment methods enhances therapeutic outcomes.

What are the disadvantages of bright light therapy?

  • Minimal side effects: While light therapy is generally safe, there may be minimal side effects, which include headaches, eye tiredness, and nausea . However, these side effects are usually temporary and tend to subside with continued use.

  • Interference with sleep : Light therapy can interfere with sleep patterns when administered at the wrong time or for prolonged durations. To prevent sleep disturbances, you should follow the recommended guidelines regarding the timing and duration of light exposure.

  • Not for everyone: Light therapy may not be suitable for certain individuals, particularly those with medical conditions (or taking medications) that increase their sensitivity to light. For this reason, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting light therapy.

Who is bright light therapy suitable for?

Given the many uses of bright light therapy discussed above, it’s easy to see who light therapy is suitable for. Light therapy may be for you if:

  • You struggle with low mood during the winter months.

  • You feel down all the time.

  • You feel wiped out during the day even if you’ve slept adequately.

  • You feel sleepy during the day or find it difficult to fall asleep at night.

  • You work night shifts.

Who should avoid using light therapy?

With the disadvantages of light therapy discussed, it’s easy to see that some people should avoid this treatment option. People who should avoid light therapy include:

  • Individuals with bipolar disorder: Avoid light therapy if you have bipolar disorder because  it may trigger a manic episode . At the very least, it should be conducted under a doctor’s (preferably a psychiatrist’s) supervision.

  • People with conditions that cause sensitivity to light : When you have a condition that increases sensitivity to light, light exposure can cause anything from mild discomfort to severe pain. Eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal diseases, and corneal abrasions can cause heightened sensitivity to light. In these cases, light exposure may cause discomfort, pain, or damage to the eyes, so light therapy will be unsuitable for you if you have these conditions.

  • People taking medications that increase sensitivity to light: When you take medications that increase sensitivity to light, exposure to bright light may aggravate the sensitivity and cause adverse reactions. So, avoid light therapy if you take medications that make the eyes more sensitive to light.

  • People with skin conditions that cause skin-light sensitivity: Light can trigger inflammation, redness, and flare-ups in individuals with sensitive skin. So, if you have skin conditions like lupus or dermatitis, you should avoid bright light therapy, especially with light therapy lamps. Light therapy glasses that send light directly into your eyes may be more suitable for you, but you should consult with your health provider even before starting with these.

Tips for effective bright light therapy

Consult with your healthcare provider

Self-medication is never an option. So, even if you have physiological problems caused by sunlight deprivation and think you’re suitable for light therapy, you should consult with your healthcare provider before starting light therapy.

This is especially important if you have any medical condition or are taking medications that may affect your response to bright light.

Choose the right light therapy device

Administering light therapy effectively also requires choosing the right light therapy device. The minimum requirements for a light therapy device should be 10,000 lux of light and UV-free light. 10,000 lux is the light intensity for maximum effectiveness, and UV radiation causes skin damage.

Your device also affects how easily you can incorporate light therapy into your daily routine.

For example, light therapy lamps require you to suspend your normal activities and sit by the light throughout your session. However, light therapy glasses allow you to do your therapy while doing your normal activities.

Use it at the right time

The wrong timing can cause sleep disturbances. So, to ensure light therapy is beneficial, administer it at the right time.

For most conditions, the right time for light therapy is in the morning, within an hour of waking up. But some conditions may require administering it later in the day.

Avoid exceeding the recommended daily usage duration

Insufficient exposure will reduce the therapeutic benefits of light therapy, while over-exposure may aggravate side effects and cause headaches, eye strain, discomfort, and more.

Thus, to use light therapy effectively, do not exceed the recommended daily usage duration.

For most people, this is 20-30 minutes of exposure daily. However, the optimum duration depends on the specific condition being treated. This is another reason why you should consult your healthcare provider before starting.

Maintain a consistent schedule

To reap maximum benefits from light therapy, administer it at the same time every day for a period of time. If you skip a session, your body clock reverts, and it’ll take longer to see results.

Monitor your response

Monitor how your body responds to the treatment. If you experience side effects, reduce the light intensity of your light therapy device or the duration of your sessions. If the problem persists, stop using it for a few days before trying again. If it reoccurs, consult with your healthcare provider.

Administer light therapy in a well-lit room

When you administer light therapy in a dark room, the contrast between the bright light and the surrounding darkness can strain the eyes, leading to eye fatigue, discomfort, and potential eye problems. So, avoid doing light therapy in a dark room.

Also read: Maximising Benefits: Achieving the Best Results With Light Therapy. 

Takeaway: Enjoy the health benefits of sunlight indoors with light therapy devices

We need sunlight to function properly. Sadly, we spend most of our time indoors. That causes sunlight deprivation, which leads to problems like sleep disorders, mood instability, and low energy.

If getting outdoors more is not an option for you (because of your routine or age), there’s hope in light therapy.

Light therapy allows you to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of sunlight in indoor environments. It uses special devices that mimic sunlight to trigger reactions in your body as sunlight would, such as boosting the feel-good hormone and regulating the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

One of the best light therapy devices you’ll find is the Luminette 3 light therapy glasses. Unlike light therapy lamps, using Luminette does not disrupt your daily routine. Plus, it is absolutely safe for the eyes, does not dazzle or disturb the eyes, is very comfortable to wear, and can be used with regular eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Ready to bring the sunlight indoors and improve your overall health quality? Order the Luminette 3 light therapy glasses today!

Also, their portability means they come with minimal packaging, reducing waste generation and environmental pollution.

The Luminette 3 is one of the most eco-friendly options among light therapy glasses. It consumes less electricity during operation, reducing its environmental impact and energy costs over time.


Is bright light therapy effective?

Bright light therapy is effective. Many scientific studies have shown that it can treat physiological conditions such as lack of energy, mood disorders, sleep problems, and jet lag.

Can I do bright light therapy at home?

Yes, you can do bright light therapy at home. With Luminette 3 , you simply wear the eyeglasses, and you’re good to go!

How long will it take to see results from bright light therapy?

How long it takes to see results from light therapy depends on many factors, including the condition being treated and your lifestyle (such as eating habits, caffeine habits, and physical activity). However, in most cases, you’ll see results in 2-3 weeks. 

How much bright light therapy should I get daily?

The optimal duration of light therapy sessions depends on different factors, particularly the specific condition being treated, the intensity of the light, and personal response to the therapy. That said, the often recommended duration for light therapy is 20-30 minutes of exposure daily.

What is the best time of day for bright light therapy?

For most physiological conditions treatable with light therapy, the best time to administer the treatment is within an hour of waking in the early morning. 

How do I choose the best bright light therapy for winter blues?

When choosing light therapy for winter blues, look for devices that produce 10,000 lux of light and do not emit UV rays. Light therapy lamps will serve you. But if you want a device that is also easy to use and does not disrupt your daily routine, get the Luminette 3 light therapy glasses .

Which is the most eco-friendly bright light therapy device?

Light therapy glasses are the most eco-friendly bright light therapy devices. They use LED lights, which consume less energy and have longer lifespans than the incandescent or fluorescent bulbs used in some light therapy lamps.