Sleep Disorders and Light Therapy
Sleep is such an essential part of life. Most of us feel we do not get enough sleep. Work, school and other responsibilities have us waking up earlier than we would like, and feeling tired throughout the day. Sometimes in rare cases, people get a little too much sleep – like college students on the weekends. Most of us have a regular cycle of sleep, a pattern that we live by that helps us feel normal and energetic. For some people, however, normal cycles of sleep are a luxury they can’t acquire.
Sleeping disorders are caused by disruptions in the cycles of sleep. The body is equipped with a kind of internal clock, often called the biological clock. Hormones and other chemicals inside of us work together to tell us when we are tired and when we are awake. Called circadian rhythms, these sleep indicators work in patterns and occur regularly. Light also plays an essential role. Light helps trigger feelings of sleepiness and alertness.
People who suffer from sleeping disorders have problems with their circadian rhythm. Their pattern is off. Light therapy can help them. Light therapy works simply by simulating light. Patients usually sit in front of a light box that emits high intensity light for a short period of time, around 30 minutes a day. The light works in correcting problems with circadian rhythm and making regular patterns of sleep.