Light therapy lamps – Benefits and side effects

Light therapy lamps – Benefits and side effects

Light therapy lamps are medical devices that emit artificial light that can uplift a person’s mood. Primarily, these lamps are used to tackle depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), jet lag, and dementia. There is no conclusive evidence on what causes SAD, but studies suggest that it is associated with changes in the eye’s sensitivity to light, serotonin levels, and circadian rhythm. Using light therapy lamps can be beneficial in resetting the sleep cycle by altering the body’s melatonin levels and other crucial brain chemicals.

How to use a light therapy lamp?
Light therapy is a beneficial treatment for SAD. Clinical practice guidelines for using light therapy are as follows:

Use it in the morning
The best time for light therapy is 30 minutes in the morning. Keep your eyes open, but you do not have to stare at the light.

Do not get it too close
Keep the light therapy lamp at least 12 to 18 inches away from you.

Research the lamp specifics
When scouring through the different light therapy lamp deals, read their specifications too. It is best to pick a lamp that emits 10,000 lux white fluorescent light sans UV wavelengths.

Keep it consistent
In only one to two weeks, you will see improvement in your symptoms.

Benefits of light therapy lamp
Light therapy lamp benefits are plenty. Below we will address a few common ones:

They alleviate SAD symptoms
One of the top light therapy lamps uses is that they can help combat SAD. You experience seasonal depression in those months when there are not enough sunlight hours. In the Northern hemisphere, this usually occurs from fall through the winter. Exposure to light therapy lamps can improve depression scores after just twenty minutes of exposure, availing maximum benefits after 40 minutes. These lamps are effective because they help with serotonin production, a hormone responsible for a happy mood. In addition, bright light suppresses melatonin production, bettering wakefulness.

It resets the circadian rhythm
Usually, doctors recommend bright light therapy to treat circadian rhythm disorders. People with this disorder experience trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and might wake up very early in the morning. In addition, people who wish to sleep and wake up later than usual are known as phase delayed. Doctors recommend morning light therapy for them. On the contrary, people who feel fatigued earlier than usual are called phase advanced. Such people can reap the maximum benefits of the light therapy lamp in the evening or afternoon. People working night shifts for long tend to damage their natural circadian rhythm. So, light therapy can help them with the transition.

It helps people with dementia
People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease usually experience sleep disturbances. Studies suggest that people with dementia spend almost forty percent of their night awake. Consequently, they sleep for most portions of the day. Those who do not sleep properly during the night display irritated behavior and suffer from depression because of social isolation. Using the light therapy lamp benefits in curing the sleep disorder and depression symptoms, and they can get relief from dementia symptoms.

It helps with anxiety
Like depression, even anxiety can result from a serotonin imbalance. Studies prove that bright light therapy can dramatically lower anxiety signs or at least help with symptom improvement. Though more research is needed on this study, it can be a beneficial alternative treatment.

Light therapy benefits adults with ADHD
Activity rhythms, altered sleep, and seasonal mood changes worsen ADHD symptoms, and light therapy lamps can help improve these symptoms.

Potential light therapy lamp side effects
Though usually safe, especially if bought from a reputable manufacturer, the Food and Drug Administration does not usually test or regulate these lamps. So, please research well and pick a lamp with good testimonials and reviews. It is easy to find light therapy lamp deals online and offline. But there can be some light therapy lamp side effects. So, please follow the recommendations depending on the specific light. You may experience mild symptoms like headaches and eyestrain from such lamp use. In addition, regular lamp use might result in sleep, mood, and skin issues as the light affects your hormone levels. Side effects are more apparent in people with prevailing skin and eye issues if the lamp emits UVB light and those with mental health disorders or migraines.

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