Light Therapy Insomnia Treatments – Do They Really Work?
As more attention is paid to sleep disorders and the field of sleep medicine expands there are an increasing number of treatments for insomnia available that are designed to provide long-term relief instead of the kind of temporary fix that sleep medications do. One of the treatments gaining in popularity is light therapy insomnia relief.
What is Light Affected Insomnia?
There are many causes and triggers of insomnia. One of the more common, especially amongst night workers, is light affected insomnia. Those who suffer from this form of insomnia do not always have too much difficulty in falling asleep but they tend to wake far too early and then find themselves unable to go back to sleep.
How Do Light Therapy Insomnia Treatments Work?
Also called bright light therapy, light therapy insomnia treatments come in a number of different types and the techniques used will differ depending upon the specific symptoms of insomnia a particular patient suffers from.
Often the most effective light therapies for insomnia are a combination of lifestyle and environmental changes, home treatment and specific bright light therapy sessions using special lights and lamps. The fact is that a great many people are just not at all aware of the huge effect that light–both natural light and artificial light –has on our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns and how much altering the “light in their lives” can make a difference for those suffering from insomnia.
Using Light Therapy in the Home
There are some changes you can make at home that follow the theories of light therapy for insomnia. You should make sure that your bedroom is as dark as possible when you retire for the night. That may mean buying heavier drapes to block out external lights from outside or kicking a night light habit. You should also avoid turning on any bright lights if you need to get up briefly during the night.
However, if you truly cannot stand a completely dark bedroom at night (and some people just cannot) cutting out all sources of light can be stressful and only add to your insomnia problems. In this case, a simple sleep mask can be an effective answer to shield your eyes from the light and then a small night light located near the floor should not make too much of a difference.
Conversely, you should find a way to increase the amount of light that is in your bedroom when it is time to wake up. If you are lucky enough to have an eastern facing bedroom window this can be very easy to achieve but if not you will have to look for an artificial solution. One solution many people turn to is making use of ‘natural light’ light bulbs in their bedroom lamps. These bulbs mimic the color spectrums of natural light and many feel are easier on the eyes in the morning.
You can, in fact, buy special alarm clocks that wake you with a full spectrum light that gets progressively lighter as the time that your alarm is set to approaches. the idea is that these clocks mimic a natural sunrise and many people do find them to be very helpful over time.