In the last post, we covered Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Here, I want to expand on that and other ways that light therapy can benefit you, no matter your mental condition. Whether you live somewhere that’s warm and sunny all year round or not, anyone can benefit tremendously from a light therapy box. There is so much recent research behind them that prove it helps to combat depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, stress, and more – while providing you with extra Vitamin D (which is always a plus).
What is a Light Therapy Box?
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is the process of utilizing an artificial light/lamp that mimics the effects of natural sunlight and triggers chemicals in the brain related to mood and sleep. These can be purchased online through Amazon and other Note: this is NOT the same as using a tanning bed – the effects will not be the same and tanning can lead to other health issues such as skin cancer and bacterial infections. Plus, light therapy is used in your own home! According to Everyday Health, using light therapy can boost the effects of any current medications you may be taking, whether it is a Vitamin D supplement, Vitamin C, or antidepressants/anti-anxiety medications.
How Will a Light Therapy Box Benefit You?
More and more studies being done are finding that light therapy is effective in treating insomnia, ADHD, dementia, and even help to improve motor function to those with Parkinson’s disease. You do not have to be diagnosed with a mental or physical condition to benefit from this type of therapy. Anyone can purchase it, use it, and notice results right after the first use. It is a good ‘tool’ to have in your home for when you might be feeling down, stressed, sick, or ‘trapped in the house.’ Research has found that people with Bipolar Disorder may not benefit from this, depending on your symptoms, as the light can actually trigger manic episodes. If you are bipolar depressed, however, I think it would useful.
How Do You Use It?
To use a light therapy box, it is recommended that during your first at-home session you begin with 10 minutes. After a few sessions, you can increase the time. It is known that people have up to 2-hour sessions. However, you want to make sure that when you use it, it is helping you. Therefore you want to make sure you don’t use it so often that your body becomes accustomed to it. I recommend turning it on for 15 minutes first thing in the morning – while you are getting ready for work or just trying to wake up for the day. This way, you start of the day hopefully in a better mood and are fully awake and motivated. If you have insomnia or a hard time falling asleep, I would use it for another 15 minutes or so before bed too. The great thing about a light therapy box is that it is compact, portable, and practical. They come in all different sizes, with the largest size no bigger than a regular lamp you would have in your home. Most are rectangular in size and include a stand to stay upright. Below are a few of my favorites on Amazon that are the best featured price. ‘HappyLight’ is a common and popular brand that is recommended by medical Doctor’s, including my own. As you can see, they are fairly inexpensive depending on the size you desire. Either way, the benefits outweigh any cost by far.
What are your experiences with light therapy? Do you have a light therapy box? Does it benefit you? What advice would you give someone to encourage them to get one themselves? Winter is quickly approaching here in the midwest – get yours today – try something new, especially if nothing else seems to be working to lift your spirits.