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In the January 2012 issue of PARENTS magazine, an article by Betsy Stephens outlines the significant impacts that sleep disturbances have on children – much more serious ones than most parents probably appreciate. For example, according to a recent study from University of Virginia, children who lack adequate sleep consistently suffer a drop in IQ points that is equivalent to the effect of lead poisoning. According to Dr. Judith Owens, M.D. at Children’s National Medical Center, tired brains cause neurons to lose their ability to work- to form the connections needed to learn. Furthermore, there can be long-term cardiovascular and obesity effects from consistent lack of sleep in children.
A rare occurrence? Hardly – the number of young children considered at risk for these sleep problems is estimated to be more than 20-30%. There are now more than 40 accredited pediatric sleep centers nationally, but many parents do not seek medical help, because they think their child’s sleep issues are as much their problem as the child’s.
Pediatricians suggest a number of strategies for addressing your child’s sleep disturbance. One of the easiest first steps is to use a bedroom light that has a gradually fading light, which is nature’s way of engaging the body’s circadian rhythms to respond with sleep.
In a January 2013 article written for the Office of Health Safety Canada, author Ann Ruperstein outlines and illustrates the extraordinary safety problem that fatigue and sleep disorders have become, especially as a result of the increase in use of flexible shift workers. She also identifies the research and increasing corporate interest in measures to respond to the problem.
According to Dr. Adam Moscovitch of University of Calgary, over the last 100 years the average amount of sleep diminished from 9 hours to six, and at least 10% of the population is affected by chronic sleep deprivation. Moreover, in this 24/7 world, many see sleeping as an unproductive “a waste of time”, and attempt to accomplish more and more during each day.
Does it matter? In a recent Australian study, researchers compared the cognitive functioning due to sleepiness with that due to alcohol consumption. They match; a professional working with 17 hours of wakefulness will have the same decision-making and reflex capability as someone who is legally impaired with alcohol. According to statistics from the National Sleep Foundation in Virginia, over 200,000 car accidents a year are related to sleepiness and fatigue. The Exxon Valdez oil spill, Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and multiple airplane crashes all cite fatigue as a significant factor in the catastrophes. Managing fatigue among flexible schedule professionals is a national safety issue as much as a productivity and health issue.
Both the Canadian and the U.S. occupational safety and health agencies have substantially increased their focus on the real consequences of sleep deprivation. The changing picture of the global workforce –a wider range of professions working more flexible hours than ever in history – compelled the OSHA agencies to expand their historical focus on factory and machine safety to include fatigue issues.
If you have seasonal affective disorder, other forms of depression, or a sleep disorder, pharmaceutical companies have a host of offerings for you. You can try to alleviate depression with Prozac, or Lexapro. You can try Ambien or Lunesta to get a better night’s sleep.
But these drugs have side effects. Prozac and Lexapro, for example, can cause insomnia. Ambien and Lunesta can cause daytime drowsiness, which kind of defeats the point of getting a good night’s sleep. Most of these powerful drugs can cause stomach upset, which isn’t surprising, since when you take a powerful drug in a pill you’re putting a potent chemical into your stomach. Avoiding this is just one of the dramatic advantages of light therapy.
Light therapy’s efficacy for seasonal affective disorder was first studied in 1981 at the National Institute for Mental Health of the National Institute of Health. In the ensuing decades, light therapy has been established by study after study as an effective treatment for depression and sleep disorders. BioBrite has a distinguished board of scientific advisors who guide our own research activities.
Light therapy is hard to categorize as alternative medicine, because western medicine has so definitively supported it. But like many “alternative” or “holistic” remedies, it’s essentially free of side effects. The only kind of addiction light therapy can create is an addiction to feeling great.
An interesting study in 2006 compared light therapy to Prozac for depressed patients. Researchers at the Mood Disorders Centre in Vancouver, Canada, found that light therapy was just as effective as Prozac but that people felt the effects more quickly. If you’re depressed, of course you want to feel better quickly. And BioBrite’s light therapy products tend to be less expensive than anti-depressants in the long term, so they really are an obvious choice.
It’s almost fall, and some of us are experiencing the fall funkies, the winter blues, or just the blahs, which increase as you experience less daylight and more gray days – a natural response actually, but not one that needs to overwhelm you. Get control of the seasonal cycle this time by using a light box or visor for your lux therapy, and a dawn simulator to help reprogram your body’s clock.
Let us know how we can help you with your fall/winter blues!
And, check out what our friends at Best New Alarm Clocks.com have to say about the SunRise Alarm Clock in Charcoal, and post your own review!
“Really great product, good company
This is a super product that provides a great way to wake up in the mornings. We wake up much easier and more refreshed with the Sunrise Clock. Great find.”
“Before buying the BioBrite clock, I read in one of the earlier reviews that the method of programming the clock was rather complex– This is not true.”
“I received my BioBrite a month ago and have been using it ever since. It’s fairly easy to set up and works really well for me.”
“What a fabulous alternative to a shrill alarm jarring you awake out of a deep slumber. The Biobrite is a sunrise clock that really works.”
“I have one window to my bedroom and not much light gets in at all. Before i got this when I woke up I had no idea if it was 6AM or 10AM.”
We get a lot of positive feedback at BioBrite, and we want to share our customer’s reviews with you! Check out our fan of the day and share your experiences with us in a comment below!
“Wow. What a great company: BioBrite. They fixed my clock for a very small fee and way past warranty date. AND they were unbelievably fast! I am SO happy to have my sun-rise alarm back -and just in time to start Dental Hygiene School (long days ahead). Thank You, BioBrite!”
— Diane “Labadorer,” Austin, Texas
The timing of light signals can be as important as how much light we receive. When the biological clock receives light signals at the wrong time of day, it can become out of sync with the real world, creating havoc with sleep patterns, digestion and other activities. This phenomenon, called “circadian dysrthmia,” is most often experienced in “jet lag” – another condition that responds well to carefully timed use of bright light technology.
Scientific research has shown that light at specific times during your body’s circadian cycle sets your clock Eastward and at other times, Westward. So the key is to seek bright light at the correct time and avoid sunlight at specific times. The timing is crucial. Light at the wrong time during a trip to Europe could send your sleep patterns to Hawaii! BioBrite offers the easy-to-use Jet Lag Combat Kit (with Light Visor) (#88200) and booklet “Preventing Jet Lag,” which tells you exactly how to use light to rapidly shift your biological clock to the new time zone. Any bright light source which is not standard room lighting will work, particularly the sun, but since light may be needed at night or on the plane, the Light Visor in the Jet Lag Combat Kit is the only practical choice.
By the same token, our other Light Visors and light boxes can help with certain sleep disorders which require the reset of circadian rhythms. Look for our upcoming entry concerning these sleep disorders on your friend lists and community posts!
It’s never been more affordable to bypass the piercing screech of traditional alarms. Wake to the warm glow of one of our most popular dawn simulator alarm clocks while saving 30%!
Due to consumer demand, the sale on our SunRise Alarm Clock Radio has been extended for a limited time.Please visit our Web page for details.
Features and Functions:
*Adjustable sunrise and sunset features in 15-, 30-, 45-, 60-, or 90-minute intervals (this is the only SunRise Alarm Clock model with a 45-minute sunrise/sunset feature)
*An anti-theft function – deter criminals while out of town with our automatic lamp feature
*A back-up beeper alarm
*Your choice of 12- or 24-hour time display
Save 30% at www.BioBrite.com.
BioBrite products have been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, in People Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many other publications. We’re also featured on social media sites and blogs across the Internet. Know of a post not mentioned below? Send us a link to the post in a comment! Anonymous commenting enabled.
“Find out about light visors to compensate for fewer hours of natural daylight. The one I use is BioBrite (www.BioBrite.com).”
“I really appreciate my EZ Wake Digital SunRise Alarm Clock Sea Green! EZ Wake Digital SunRise Alarm Clock Sea Green is such an terrific product that I don’t know how I’ve lived without it all these years.”
BioBrite Inc. is a a privately-owned, therapeutic lighting company based in Bethesda, Maryland. We primarily do business online and sell a variety of dawn simulator alarm clocks and light therapy devices for those with sleeping problems or who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Please see below for product list. Visit us on the Web at www.biobrite.com.
Whether you’re a loyal customer and have been purchasing from us for years, or are a newer customer beginning to build a relationship with us, we want to hear your feedback! Visit our contact page and drop us a note, or leave a comment on this blog.