Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mental Health Care and Light Therapy

Mental health is a much bigger issue than a lot of people think it is and it needs to be addressed more. Proper mental health is crucial for the overall wellness of each individual. Around 13% of people around the world are affected by some sort of mental health problem or substance abuse problem. 

The most common mental health problems seen these days are insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. The more these conditions are left untreated, the more these problems will show up.

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There are a number of ways to get relief from those conditions. Exercising, DIY projects are often seen to bring about improvements in treating these conditions. However, today we are going to discuss a totally natural and effortless way of therapy that can help you with your mental health issues. This therapy is called light therapy.

Relation Between Light and Mental Health

The relation between light and mental health is well documented, and we have known about it from ancient times. Think about a sunny day; it instantly fills you up with joy and energy. On the other hand, a gloomy wintery morning often tends to make us stay longer in bed.

Our lives are highly influenced by light. Bright office space can increase our productivity. In contrast, we prefer a dimly lit room to take a nap. Our mood is also affected by lights.

Blue lights trick our brain into thinking it’s daytime. Based on that knowledge, our brains produce melatonin that boosts focus and alertness. Similarly, red lights help increase serotonin levels in our body, making us relaxed and able to fall asleep faster. 

Our body’s biological clock is highly light-dependent. It receives signals from the different lights and promotes various biological activities in the body. Without the presence of light, this process can be hampered significantly.

What is Light Therapy? Mental Health Care and Light Therapy

From the above, we can see just how important light is in our lives. However, it is often just not possible to get enough light. It can be a grimy winter, or you may live in a place where the sun doesn’t shine as often. 

So, to receive the benefits of light, whenever and wherever, these lightboxes were invented. In these boxes, a number of LED lights emitting a specific wavelength of light are used. These boxes often feature red, blue, and infrared wavelengths of lights. 

With the help of a light therapy box, a person can easily expose themselves to the light without hassle. Additionally, LED lights emit specific wavelengths of light. Therefore, there are no harmful UV rays, unlike natural sunlight. 

In order to get this therapy, you need to turn on the switch of the lightbox and expose your skin to the light. Within 15 – 20 minutes max, you will get the desired benefits. 

Mental Health and Light Therapy

We have already discussed the effect of light on the brain and mind. Light therapy works in the same way.

Light therapy helps in restoring our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm influences the production of serotonin and cortisol and also influences melatonin activity within the brain. With the help of blue light, melatonin activity can be suppressed. Red light can help increase the activity of melatonin to make us fall asleep.

So, if you have trouble sleeping, light therapy can help you fall asleep and reduce stress.

Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) is another important condition in which light therapy has shown significant promise. A person diagnosed with SAD can feel depressed during the cold months of winter. This depression can last for months. Also, each time winter comes back, all the depressive symptoms come back into the patient’s life.

With the help of light therapy, this problem can be treated. When light is shone upon our body, it tricks the brain to think it’s summertime. So, the circadian rhythm will be restored accordingly. This will help in elevating mood and getting rid of depressive symptoms.

Light therapy provides you with a comfortable warm feeling during each session. It can effectively reduce your stress and anxiety. Therefore, your mental health gets a boost and so does your overall quality of life.

When to Use Light Therapy?

Proper timing can be very crucial for light therapy. The good news is, most of the light therapy devices are portable. 

For most people, light therapy works best Mental Health Care and Light Therapy when received in the morning. You can turn on your device, sit beneath it and enjoy your coffee while reading a newspaper. This way, you get to receive the red light benefits plus the benefits of your coffee. 

If you have trouble falling asleep, Mental Health Care and Light Therapy you should receive light therapy early in the morning. In contrast, if you are suffering from staying asleep, you should receive your light therapy in the evening right before sunsets. 

Potential Side-Effects

Light therapy is entirely natural. That means there is almost little to no harm associated with this therapy. However, you should consult your doctor or a professional before receiving this therapy.

If you have bipolar disorder, bright light can trigger manic episodes in some cases. Also, if you are overly sensitive to light, or if some medication is making you susceptible to light, consult a doctor first before starting this therapy.

Bright light can damage your eyesight. So, wearing protective eye goggles is highly recommended.

Mental health conditions should be addressed more. The more we talk about these issues; the more awareness can be built. Light therapy is highly impactful on your mental health. It can help you in dealing with challenging situations and improve your overall quality of life.

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