There are millions of different stimuli that influence your body, causing your body to react and behave in different ways. Among these stimuli that influence bodily change is light. Light is everywhere around you. You wake up to light every day.
When light enters the eye, it activates the suprachiasmatic nucleus within the hypothalamus, which is the control center of the brain, causing the brain to stop producing a sleep hormone called melatonin. Our body’s ability to sleep is dependent on light — the amount of light you get during the day and how bright the light is can both affect the quality of sleep you get at night.
Because the eye is sensitive to light, the development of light therapy has been used to help many people find ways to utilize the power of light to create better sleep patterns at night and increase productivity during the day. In recovery, healthy sleep patterns and energy for daily productivity are essential. If you are currently struggling to attain either, it might be time to consider light therapy.
How Light Therapy Works
Light therapy can be an easy and efficient way to treat several different conditions in a person. Light therapy uses specialized, artificial light to stimulate the brain and manipulate the production and release of specific hormones in the brain. Usually, the artificial light comes from a lightbox which emits up to 10,000 lux of light, which is much brighter than a normal lamp, or a lower intensity of specific wavelengths from the blue to the green areas of the visible spectrum. Light therapy can be done at your home or in your office by using a lightbox.
Of course, to get the full effect of the light, your eyes have to be taking in the light directly, but not by staring straight into the light. Angling the box to be in front of you so that your brain still gets the light without damaging your eyes is important. A lightbox is designed for you to do this over and over again to create a consistent pattern, which allows the benefits to appear.
Each light therapy session will be a set amount of time, usually 20 to 30 minutes. The time of day you do each light therapy session is also important and will be scheduled specific to your needs.
Regulating Your Biological Clock
Light therapy is great for regulating your biological clock to be in tune with the Earth’s day and night cycle. It can also be effective at treating mood disorders, helping you to regulate stress and anxiety and curb any irritable or impulsive behavior. Light therapy helps you discover and manage the times of day when you feel alert and the times of day when you feel sleepy, giving you a greater understanding of how your body works and how the choices you make affect your body.
Once you have a better idea of how your body works, you can then meet the needs of your body by providing a better schedule to help achieve efficient sleep and more productivity during the day.
Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression
It is common for many people to experience a form of seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder at some point during the year. The most common time to experience seasonal affective disorder is during the winter or the holiday season — these times of year are tough to manage, especially with gray, cloudy skies and cold temperatures, and could make it especially difficult to manage your sobriety.
Since the pandemic began, however, almost everything has been turned on its head. The constant uncertainty of the situation could be making it difficult to maintain any kind of daily schedule. With no real solution in sight, you could experience depression at any time of year.
Light therapy is not a cure, but it can be used to help regulate your emotions and ease the symptoms of depression, allowing you to manage your recovery more healthily. The usual belief for someone struggling with a mood disorder is that light therapy should be done for 30 minutes for every hour you sleep beyond six hours. For example, if you sleep nine hours, then you would engage in 90-minute light therapy sessions.
Light Therapy as a Daily Practice
A consistent schedule, a good diet, and positive practices such as exercise and meditation are just a few of the efforts you need to make to sustain recovery. While you should never rely on one practice to help you get better, you should always consider your options.
Because light is such a fundamental part of the body’s ability to function, light therapy can be a great way to help you get your recovery back on track. Though it won’t completely remove an issue, it can do a lot to help you feel better, such as regulating your emotions and decreasing any negative symptoms that you may be experiencing. Light therapy is another tool that you can use to keep improving and continue to live your recovery on your terms.
Recovery takes patience and persistence. The road to recovery is long, and you will often be tested. At times, you will need to be open to explore new options for treatment. Understand that it’s okay if something you have been doing is no longer working — like you, time and circumstances evolve as you evolve. If you are having difficulty and finding it harder each day to manage your recovery, then it’s time to get help. True Recovery offers 24/7 support and we are determined to find the care that meets your needs. True Recovery believes that there are many alternative treatment methods to help you stay sober. Working together, we can find the methods that are best for you. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.