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About light therapy.

For the past few years, the Sleep in America polls -- conducted on behalf of the National Sleep Foundation - have provided a snapshot of the nation's bedroom woes. Today, about 20% of Americans report that they get less than 6 hours of sleep on average, and the number of Americans that report that they get 8 hours of more has decreased.

Changes in your sleeping patterns or habits are known as sleep disorders. Excessive daytime sleepiness, increased movement during sleep, difficulty sleeping, irregular breathing and abnormal sleep behaviors are all signs of sleep disorders. If you suffer from a sleep disorder it can eventually affect your health and eventually your quality of life.

 

Circadian Rhythm

The circadian rhythm – as well known as our body clock, is roughly a 24 hour cycle that is related to the daily rotation of the earth. This internal body clock regulates sleep and wakefulness.

Our bodies depend on the rising and setting of the sun to get the signal of when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to fall asleep. The effect of light exposure on our circadian rhythms is critically dependent on its timing-morning light moves the sleep/wake clock earlier, while evening light shifts the clock later.

Our circadian clock is also tied to the production of melatonin, which is produced in the pineal gland. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that produces “sleep” or “darkness” thereby aiding in sleep regulation. Melatonin production is also directly linked to relieving depression.

 

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.

 

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.


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