Light Therapy for Insomnia
Staying awake all through the night is a problem many people deal with across the globe. However, for some people, staying asleep is the problem. Red light therapy is effective for people dealing with sleeplessness.
Insomnia is otherwise known as sleeplessness, and the problem may be more common than you think. For example, about 40 million Americans suffer from insomnia every year.
A lack of quality sleep can have a detrimental effect on a person's productivity. At times, lack of sleep may even be life-threatening. Imagine yourself dozing off while driving.
Insomnia could either be acute or chronic. It's not uncommon for stress and economic pressures to cause acute insomnia. If you've been suffering from insomnia for three months, seek help from a medical practitioner.
Scientists have found that those who suffer from insomnia have disrupted circadian rhythms. If you suffer from this problem, you know what it means. Untreated insomnia over a long period can cause hypertension—a significant rise in blood pressure.
However, there are several benefits of using light therapy for insomnia. One of the core benefits of using red light therapy is that it improves blood flow and reduces pain. This article will reveal how you can get the most out of red light therapy.
Without further delay, let's get started.
What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy is a kind of therapy designed to help people with insomnia cope with the problem. The therapy aims to expose people dealing with sleeplessness to artificial light.
Research has shown that there is a strong connection between sleep and light. During the therapy session, the artificial red light mimics the light coming from the sun. The ray of light comes from a box known as the "light therapy box."
When the session is about to begin, the patient will sit in front of the lightbox for some time. Do the therapy consistently to achieve the desired results.
Since insomnia can be a major symptom of depression, a doctor might recommend red light therapy as a form of treatment. A disruption in circadian rhythm is the biggest cause of insomnia. For example, jet lag and working a long overnight shift can disrupt this rhythm.
In other words, red light therapy aims to reset the internal clock of a patient suffering from insomnia. Apart from insomnia, light therapy can be used to correct other sleep disorders.
For example, if you have the habit of waking up too early from sleep, light therapy can be helpful. On the other hand, if you have trouble sleeping too late, light therapy in the evening will be beneficial.
How Does Light Therapy Help With Insomnia?
The aim of light therapy is not to cure insomnia; rather, it is to provide relief for some of your symptoms. Do not expect instant relief the moment you start the therapy; it could take about two weeks before you experience significant relief.
There are different types of light boxes, so ask your therapist about the one that would be most suitable for you. For example, the InfraGlow Red Light Therapy lamp is a great product that relieves muscle and joint pain.
In essence, the light emitting from the light box tells your body to stop producing the "sleep hormone," otherwise known as melatonin.
However, red light therapy doesn't work for everyone. But you can increase the chances of it working for you. One of the things you can do is stick to a certain schedule. Consistency is vital to getting the most out of it.
Depending on the cause of your insomnia, you may need psychotherapy sessions as well. For example, if stress due to marital problems is keeping you awake all night, you may need to make an appointment with a marriage counsellor.
To complement light therapy, you must take some active steps to overcome insomnia. For example, ensure you dim all the lights in your room before going to bed. In addition, do not exercise when you're so close to going to bed.
Pros and Cons of Light Therapy
Among the several solutions that have been proffered for insomnia, light therapy stands out. However, everything about it is not completely perfect. There are some downsides you must watch out for when having a light therapy session.
The following are some of the pros of using light therapy:
It's not painful and invasive
If you go in for a light therapy session, all you have to do is sit a few distances from the lightbox. It leaves you with no scars, and there is no need for an incision.
Effects are far-reaching
Apart from the fact that light therapy can help you cope with some sleep disorders, it increases blood flow to vital body parts.
Booking a red light therapy session is increasingly easy. You can either choose to have a session at the doctor's office or buy a portable light therapy device. Hence, you can choose to use the portable device at your convenience.
The cons of light therapy include:
Some medications may react with it
If you're on certain medications, speak with your physician before having a therapy session. Avoid medications that interact with red light before going for a session.
Although Red light therapy is becoming more accessible as the years pass, it still doesn't come cheap. The cheapest portable lightbox you would find around is about $100.
How Does It Work?
Red light therapy works by stimulating the power plant of each body cell. This power plant is the mitochondria. When the mitochondria get enough energy, they boost other cells in the body to perform more work.
In simple terms, some particular cells in the body can absorb the red light wavelength better than others. When this happens, processes such as skin rejuvenation, wound healing, and repair will begin.
The light emitted by a red light therapy box penetrates no more than 5 mm below the skin's surface. Because of this, it leaves no obvious scars or damage.
To complement your red light therapy session, you could as well buy foot massage equipment to increase blood flow to your feet. Lifepro Fitness supplies wellness equipment such as lightboxes, foot massagers, and so on.
Dealing with insomnia can be so draining and frustrating. To help mitigate the negative effects of sleeplessness, you need to seek medical help. Moreover, red light therapy is one of the key ways to correct this disorder.
You need to be consistent to get the most out of this therapy. 15 minutes each day for months can make a lot of difference in relieving your symptoms.
You still need to exercise some caution; do not fall asleep while the therapy is ongoing, as this may cause blisters to start forming. Do not exceed 20 minutes for a therapy session.