The natural power of blue light is similar to the clear blue light on a bright summer day.
Bright Light Therapy “helps you to feel more energized, active and alive.”
(1) Often we find ourselves unable to get out in the bright light of the natural sunlight for many reasons; work schedule, northern winter climate, sickness and many other reason.
While there is nothing as beneficial as the natural sunlight God has provided for us, there are many things we can do to help compensate for a lack of sunlight.
Taking a vitamin D supplement would be a good starting place for those who do not regular get out in direct sunlight (driving in the car does not count, sorry.
The windows have been treated to block the beneficial rays of the sun, in order to keep your car (not you) in the best condition.)
If you feel moody or haven’t been sleeping well, it may be time to see yourself in a new light, literally.
Light helps regulate the natural rhythms of our body and mind, and not getting enough or the right kind of light can impact our health.
Sufficient bright light exposure is therefore critical for all those suffering from depression, mood disorders and hormone imbalances.
A study included 89 men and women who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In one, participants were given a light-therapy box that emitted pale blue light (460 nm Medical Grade). They used it every morning for one hour over three weeks. The other group were given boxes that emitted a dim red light, which has no known benefits or harm to the body or the brain.
Three weeks after the therapy ended, more people in the blue light-therapy group were considered treatment “responders” – meaning their depression scores had dropped by at least 50%. Of the light-therapy patients, 58% were responders, versus 34% of the control group.
Patients who underwent light therapy began to show a steeper rise in evening levels of the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep. They also had a healthy drop in levels of the stress hormone: cortisol – which, at the start of the study, had been elevated. According to some psychiatrists this study shows that light therapy definitely should have a role in treating depression.
Bright light therapy can also help restore our body’s nature circadian rhythm. If a person has a difficult time getting up in the morning or considers himself to be a night person, chances are very good that there is a problem with the circadian rhythm.
To properly reset your circadian rhythm you need to get 20-60 minutes of daily exposure to bright light within 10 minutes of your normal wake time. For example, if you want to wake up daily at 6 am, you need to be exposed to bright light no later than 6:10 am for 20-60 minutes.
Benefits of Bright Light Therapy (2)
1. Light is needed for adequate serotonin production
2. Possibly best upon or before awakening
3. Works best for those that also are fatigued or have a tendency to eat or sleep too much, or have winter depression
4. Effective for partum and postpartum depression
5. Helps regulate hormones (male and female hormones)
6. 10,000 lux white light boxes 30-60 minutes/day or 460 nm blue light Medical Grade 20-40 minutes
Research Results for Bright Light Therapy (3)
Men who were exposed to an hour of bright light first thing in the morning experienced an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH). Luteinizing Hormone influences reproductive hormones in both men and women. Increased LH in men drives up testosterone levels, while the hormone triggers ovulation in women. Research has shown bright light therapy to help reveal mild depression, improves libido, and has a muscle-building and strengthening effect. When women with long and/or irregular menstrual cycles were exposed to bright light, the cycles regularized.
Winter Depression (4)
In another study, 96 patients were randomized to receive light therapy plus a placebo capsule or placebo light therapy plus Prozac (20 mg/day) for 8 weeks. The clinical response rate in each group was 67%, therefore light therapy was shown to be just a effective a treatment a Prozac. And further analysis indicated that light therapy provided a quicker initial improvement.
1. Within 10 minutes after awakening get outside in the direct sunlight or be exposed to at least 30 minutes of bright light starting immediately upon awakening
2. Requires an alarm clock at first (for approximately 7 days)
3. Regular hours for sleeping, eating, and exercise are very helpful
4. Sleeping factors:
a. Avoid eating close to bedtime. Take in your last food at least 3-4 hours before bed.
b. Turn off all electronics 60 minutes before going to bed
c. Read Scripture or other meditative material for 10-15 minutes
d. No noise (before or during sleep)
e. Then be still with eyes closed
1. Do not focus directly on the light source, whether natural or artificial. For the artificial light box, it is best to have it 20 degrees off from your straight ahead gaze.
2. Insomnia or unwanted early morning waking (for instance 1:30 or 2:30 am) can be corrected by bright light exposure for 30 minutes in mid-to-late afternoon.
3. On purchasing a light box: for effective therapy, boxes vary in terms of distance one must be from the light source – some may need to be held near your face; others are intended for use within 16-24 inches. Ensure the light does not emit UV rays.
4. Dana West, RD, Inc. sells Phillips goLITE BLU
a. Price: $129.99
b. It is as effective as 10,000 lux white light
c. Place within your field of vision, use while reading or working etc.
d. Has 3 light settings
e. 100% UV Free
f. Even light distribution for ultimate eye comfort
g. One easy push button to turn on or change settings
h. Two year warranty
i. Click here to go to our store
Can’t afford to purchase a bright light right now? Come use ours! $15/20 minutes or $20/hour.
If you have macular degeneration or similar eye problems, it would be wise to check with your eye doctor before using bright light therapy.
1. Information is from Nedley Depression And Anxiety Recovery Program Workbook and Phillips goLITE BLU information.
2. Shirani A, St. Louis E Illuminating Rationale and Uses for Light Therapy. J Clin Sleep Med. 2009 April 15; 5(2): 155-163.
3. Yoon I, Kripke D, et al. Luteinizing hormone following light exposure in healthy young men. Neuroscience Letters 2003;341:25-28.
4. Lam R, Levitt A, Levitan R, et al. The Cad-SAD Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of Light Therapy and Fluoxetine in Patients With Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder. Am. J. of Psychiatry. 2006;163(5):805-812.
5. Nedley Depression And Anxiety Recovery Program Workbook
10. Store (this info will be coming to you soon)
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