So, when I had the chance to try light therapy for three weeks, I jumped.
Light therapy is used to treat a variety of sleep disorders, including my own. When you undergo light therapy, you sit near a device that mimics natural outdoor light (also called blue light). This is known as a light therapy box, and experts believe that consistent use can have a positive effect on the chemicals in your brain related to mood and sleep.
It is also thought to help suppress melatonin secretion According to Scott Bea, Psy.D., clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. "Therefore, people who benefit from light therapy notice less drowsiness and improved energy levels," he says.
Discover how to turn off your brain so you can sleep at night:
As a bonus, experts also believe that exposure to natural light can affect the secretion of serotonin, a neurochemical that helps to regulate mood, Bea says. This effect makes light therapy a common solution for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or "winter blues". I am a Minnesota girl, accustomed to dark, dreary winters, so stimulating the potential mood has really seduced me.
Light therapy helps to mimic our biological desire to start our day with the morning sun and finish them after sunset. "Explains Phyllis Zee, MD, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Unfortunately, many of us spend our working days indoors with small fluorescent light bulbs and computer screens to enlighten us. "It really changed our sleep-wake habits, as well as our ability to stay in step with our light-dark cycle," says Zee.
To see how day-to-day exposure to natural light can impact sleep, Zee and his colleagues conducted a small study of office workers. They found that those who had windows near their workstation were more exposed to natural light throughout the day, which resulted in more physical activity and better sleep quality than workers with limited access to natural light. From a much bigger problem
For this experiment, I used the Verilux HappyLight Touch, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I l & # 39; unpacked for the first time. It's light (pun intended), compact, and a thousand times more appealing than the old-school behemoth I've tried – and I have not managed to stay consistent with – in college . You hardly notice that he is there; It was on my desk a solid week before my husband asked what it was. (The words "space-age" may have been mentioned.)
Every morning for three weeks, I got out of bed around 9 or 10 am, stumbled into my office and lit up my HappyLight. Since it was right at the edge of my desk next to my computer, remembering to turn it on was not a problem every morning.
Certainly, there have been some stress days here and there where I forgot to do light therapy. And once I realized that I had forgotten, it was too late. According to Zee, it is essential to do light therapy within the hour after waking. This is because light therapy helps regulate your body's 24-hour circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Get this light first thing when you wake up jump-start this cycle so that you are ready to sleep at a more regular time.
According to Zee's instructions, I made sure to sit about 12 to 18 inches from the light box. It's pretty close, but not too close. If you sit too close to the light source, your pupil contracts, which does not let in so much light.
In the beginning, the light was bright and hateful (hey, I was waking up!). However, after a few days, I'm used to it. Some days, I even forgot that he was there.
Most mornings, I dipped in this light for at least 30 minutes, but I sometimes left the light on all morning (about three hours). Zee says that light therapy works best if you do it for two to three hours, but 30 by 45 minutes still offers benefits.
Related: "I drink lemon water every day for 2 weeks – this is what happened"
During the first days, I did not feel too different, which is not surprising when we know that the effects are expected in the first two weeks of regular use. But after only a week, the benefits began to pour in. On the one hand, I notice that my energy level has increased significantly throughout the day. I usually feel sleepy from morning until the middle of the afternoon, when I finally start to feel awake. I was ecstatic to feel alert and focused all morning and all afternoon.
I still had trouble falling asleep at the usual hours, but I went to sleep earlier than usual (12 or 1 am versus 3 or 4 in the morning), which made a huge difference in the quality and quantity of rest I received. And once the clock rang at 10 am, I was up and ready to leave. It was very far from a week ago when I had to regularly speak without my knowledge to get to the coffee maker.
(Get the latest news on health, weight loss, fitness, and sex Sign up for our "Daily Dose" newsletter.
this whiplash, I was able to work without too much effort.Moreover, I found that I was able to work for long periods of time before needing to fill my cup of coffee My productivity has soared, and my state of mind has won out
Basically, I'm addicted