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Light Therapy Treatment for Sleep Disorders

There are many types of sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can be caused by many factors. Insomnia is a common side-effect of many sleep disorders. If disorders are related to psychological or other common reasons (e.g. seasonal affective disorder), then light therapy can be a highly effective treatment for patients in order to help them sleep when needed.

Sleep Disorders

SAD, narcolepsy, Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder are some common disorders that affect the sleep cycles of people. These disorders are related to the body’s biological clock. Light therapy makes use of this clock by using bright light stimuli. Light therapy can be used to “set” the body click, giving patients the chance to sleep properly without disrupting their normal daily routine for work and relationships. Light therapy is not used to treat possible root causes. However, the therapy is known to be able to treat psychological disorders such as bipolarity and SAD.

How Does Light Therapy Affect Sleep Cycles?

In order for a person to get healthy sleep, our body clocks must be in sync with our natural sleep cycles. A body clock may be disturbed by many causes (e.g. depression, SAD, diseases, etc). Having a disturbed cycle may lead to negative consequences such as depression, tiredness, and insomnia.

Circadian rhythm corrected with light therapy

Disorders concerning the circadian rhythm can be treated using light therapy.

Some types of Light Therapy:

  • Bright Light Therapy – Tests reveal that the pineal gland, which is located in the eye, is affected by bright lights. The pineal gland is used to regulate body clocks. Since body clocks are correlated with sleeping habits, Bright Light therapy can help in correcting sleep cycles.
  • Blue Light Therapy – The eye’s retina receives and interprets light wavelengths.  Tests show that the retina is more responsive to blue lights. These lights can cause the receiver to send signal to various parts of the brain that manage sleep functions, hormone levels and the moods of people.

Which Light Therapy Should be Used?

The type of light therapy that will be used depends on the type of disorder. The duration and frequency of the treatment depends on the disorder as well. The possible causes of the disorder are taken into account. The therapy will be programmed to provide stimuli using a source of light at the appropriate time in order to correct the body clock. Light therapy can be done using everyday objects, such as special lamps, or even customized laptops.

When the body clock is corrected, a person can achieve a healthier sleep schedule, which in turn alleviates the symptoms of sleep disorders.

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