Have you ever noticed when you step outside on a bright sunny day how much your mood improves? Even if you’re the type of person who loves a good rainy day at home—curled up with a book and cup of hot tea—you may still have tuned into how much your body likes looking out the window, watching the rain come down.
Natural light is a timekeeper that sets our internal biological clocks. These “clocks” affect our brains and organs. Thanks to our modern lives—that leave us all too often spending many hours indoors and stuck under artificial light—our clocks, or circadian rhythms get disrupted. When that happens it can mess with our moods, sleep patterns, and brain performance.
Whether you’re someone who struggles with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or not, light therapy offers up a host of bright benefits. Variations in light exposure can alter levels of our hormones melatonin and serotonin, which regulate mood and sleep.
Research and studies are showing that light therapy can offer an effective option in treating insomnia, jetlag, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dementia. If you battle depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other cognitive problems, light therapy can replace medication in some cases or at the least boost the effect of medications that are being used.
Sometimes referred to as “happy lights”, simply sitting by this 10,000 lux specialized type of light box (easily found online) is the treatment. It’s really that simple! Light therapy usually works best in the morning (or within the first two hours after you wake up) as it is mimicking the sun’s natural cycle.
While each light box will vary, you simply place the special light approximately 16 to 24 inches near you for a session from 20 minutes to an hour or so each day. You can relax as you sit—read a book, write a letter, or listen to some music or a podcast.
It’s an inexpensive, non-intrusive, and brilliant way to consider brightening up your life and offering some healthy benefits to your mind and mood. :)