Light Therapy and the Brain

Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions.


You may wonder if this is all made up or if sitting in front of a bright light actually works. Some people with SAD find that light therapy can help improve their mood considerably.


It's thought the light may improve symptoms of SAD by encouraging the brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood).


Bright light works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day can restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus banish seasonal symptoms.


Personally, I have found my light box to be therapeutic, when used consistently. I keep it near my couch where I eat breakfast and try to remember to keep it on for fifteen minutes in the morning - especially on grey, rainy days.


Here are a couple evidence based articles you may find interesting :

1. Light treatment of mood disorders

2. Seasonal affective disorder: bring on the light


Leave a comment and let me know what you think!




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