Light therapy: For what? For who ?

La luminothérapie : Pour quoi ? Pour qui ?
What if light therapy was effective for you?

Since the beginning of time, humanity has always been linked to light. Our ancestors rose and set with the sun, using natural light to regulate their daily activities. Although our lifestyles have evolved considerably since then, our biological need for light has remained the same. This is where light therapy comes into play.

Understanding the Importance of Light

Modern light therapy lamp on a work desk

To understand the importance of light, just look around you. The effect of light on our world is undeniable. It influences not only our physical environment, but also our internal biological processes. Our bodies use light to regulate a variety of functions, from our sleep cycles to our mood, energy, and even our overall health.
And above all, light has a fundamental effect on our bodily hormones. The complex interaction between light and hormones regulates several physiological functions, including sleep, mood and energy. A lack of light can therefore have numerous physical and mental consequences.

Melatonin - The Sleep Hormone : Arguably the best known and most studied interaction between light and hormones is that between light and melatonin, often called the "sleep hormone." Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness. It plays a crucial role in regulating our biological clock, or circadian rhythm. Exposure to light, particularly blue light emitted by electronic screens, can suppress melatonin production, which can disrupt sleep.

Serotonin - The Feel-good Hormone : Light also influences the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter sometimes called the "happiness hormone." Serotonin is involved in many functions of the body, including the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. High levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of well-being and satisfaction, while low levels of serotonin are linked to depression. Exposure to daylight, especially early in the day, can stimulate serotonin production.

Cortisol - The Stress Hormone : Cortisol, often called the "stress hormone", is another hormone affected by light. Normally, cortisol levels in the body follow a diurnal cycle, increasing in the morning to help you wake up and prepare for the day, then decreasing throughout the day to allow you to relax and fall asleep later. night. Exposure to morning light can help stimulate cortisol production, which can help you feel more alert and energetic.

Endorphins - Pleasure Hormones : Endorphins are hormones that are released in the brain in response to certain activities, such as exercise, and which cause a feeling of well-being or euphoria. Although research is still ongoing, some studies suggest that exposure to light, particularly sunlight, can also stimulate endorphin production.

A light alarm clock that simulates the sunrise for a natural awakening
In short, light plays a crucial role in regulating our bodily hormones, which, in turn, has a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. It is for this reason that light therapy can be a powerful tool to improve our quality of life.
Take seasonal affective disorder (SAD), for example, a type of depression linked to less daylight during the winter months. SAD affects approximately 10 million Americans each year, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This is where light therapy comes in, a form of therapy that uses light to compensate for this lack of natural light and will be able to treat a very large proportion of these affected people without resorting to medication.

Discover Light Therapy

Light therapy is a technique that uses special lamps to simulate natural sunlight. These lamps emit intense, white light, containing a variety of wavelengths that mimic the full spectrum of sunlight.
Research has shown that light therapy can be effective in treating a variety of conditions, ranging from SAD to certain sleep disorders and even depression. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that light therapy may be as effective as antidepressants in treating non-seasonal depression.

User enjoying a light therapy session with a circadian lamp

Introduction to Circadian Light Therapy

While traditional light therapy focuses on exposure to intense light at specific times of the day, circadian light therapy goes a step further. This method seeks to mimic the natural movement of the sun throughout the day, adjusting the intensity and color of light to match our internal biological clock.
Sunrise, for example, is associated with warm, gradually intensifying light. It helps wake us up and prepare us for the day. When we are in the middle of our day any time, like when the sun is at its zenith, the lamp will be intense and white to stimulate and boost the body's hormones. Sunset, on the other hand, is marked by a soft, warm light without blue light that signals our body that it is time to prepare for sleep.
A circadian light therapy lamp thus reproduces the cycle of the sun, thus helping to regulate our circadian rhythms. This type of device is therefore more effective than conventional light therapy and can be less restrictive due to the passive aspect of these lamps, which are used like a classic office or bedside light.

Why is Light Therapy Important?

Light therapy is a powerful tool to support our health and well-being. Here are some of the main benefits of this therapy:
Improved sleep : Light is one of the main regulators of our internal biological clock, also called our circadian rhythm. By exposing our bodies to appropriate levels of light throughout the day, we can help regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
Reduction of depression symptoms : Several studies have shown that light therapy can help reduce symptoms of depression and SAD. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that light therapy may be as effective as antidepressants in treating SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Improved energy and mood : Exposure to bright light during the day can help improve our energy and mood. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology showed that exposure to natural sunlight during the day can improve mood and job satisfaction.

A light alarm clock that simulates the sunrise for a natural awakening
How to Use Circadian Light Therapy

Incorporating circadian light therapy into your daily routine may be easier than you think. Here are some suggestions:

Use a Wake-Up Light : A wake-up light simulates the sunrise by gradually increasing the intensity of the light over a period of 30 minutes before your scheduled wake-up time. This can help you wake up more naturally and feel more alert and in a better mood in the morning.

Put a Light Therapy Lamp on Your Desk : Exposure to bright light during the day can improve your productivity and mood. Try using a light therapy lamp on your desk to reap these benefits.

Use Soft Light in the Evening : The soft, warm light emitted by a light therapy lamp in the evening can help prepare your body for sleep. You can use this light while you relax before bed to promote better sleep.

The All-in-One Method : You can also have all these benefits with a single accessory with the Arits circadian light therapy lamps which you can find on arits.fr

Light therapy lamp emitting soft, warm light for the evening

Circadian Light Therapy in Daily Life: Examples
Concrete

Now let's see how circadian light therapy could be integrated into a daily scenario:
Scenario 1 : You work in a windowless office and often feel tired and lethargic during the day. Placing a circadian light therapy lamp on your desk could help increase your energy levels. You could also program the lamp to emit a warmer, softer light in the late afternoon to help you relax after a long day at work.
Scenario 2 : You have trouble waking up in the morning. A bright alarm clock could help you start your day more energetic and positive. The alarm clock could also be programmed to emit a softer, warmer light before bed to help prepare you for sleep.

Circadian light therapy for jet lag
Another 2010 study, published in the journal Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, showed that applying light therapy can help reduce jet lag symptoms in international travelers and flight crews.

Myths and Misconceptions about Light Therapy
As with any emerging therapy, there are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding circadian light therapy. Here are some of the most common:

“Light therapy is only for people with seasonal depression” : Although light therapy was originally developed to treat seasonal depression, research has shown that it is also very beneficial for a variety of other conditions, including non-seasonal depression, certain sleep disorders, jet lag and even work productivity.

“All light therapy lamps are the same” : In reality, not all light therapy lamps are created equal. Light intensity, light spectrum and lamp design can all vary greatly. It is therefore important to do your research before purchasing a light therapy lamp. There is also the type of light therapy which changes as mentioned previously, with circadian or classic light therapy.

Practical Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of Light Therapy

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of light therapy:

Use your light therapy lamp regularly : To achieve the best results, it is recommended to use your light therapy lamp regularly and consistently.

Place your lamp strategically : To maximize benefits, the lamp should be placed so that the light reaches your eyes, but without looking directly at the light.

Choose Quality Material : some lamps may seem attractive due to their very low price, but their effects and their lifespan will also be low... To ensure that you are providing yourself with quality lamps, you can look at the technical sheets, the materials used, and the origin of its lamps. With Made in France it is likely that you will be more satisfied than with products that have crossed oceans.

A man soldering electronics


Conclusion :

Light therapy and more particularly circadian light therapy is an innovative and scientifically proven method to improve general well-being and mental health. With correct and recurring application, it can help improve sleep quality, increase daytime energy, and even alleviate the symptoms of certain medical conditions. So why not make circadian light therapy part of your daily routine?


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