Did you know about sleep debt? If you lose two hours of sleep a night, by the end of the week you owe yourself 12 hours of sleep! This sleep debt can feel even worse on top of stress or erratic sleeping patterns. Fortunately, there are ways to help ease the tension caused by sleep problems.
There are several classifications of sleep disorders. Light therapy is an effective treatment for a branch of disorders concerning circadian rhythm disruption. Disorders such as late night- (Delayed Circadian Rhythm Disorder) and early morning-insomnia (Advanced Circadian Rhythm Disorder) are especially aided by this type of therapy.
Using light therapy at strategic times can help you to reset your body’s internal clock and combat jet lag, fatigue, insomnia, and sleeping patterns due to shift work, because when you expose yourself to light at certain times, your body gets used to the new biological cues.
For those with a milder sleep debt, dawn simulation can be a soothing aid. Dawn simulation is not akin to light therapy, but both can work together to help shift circadian rhythms that are out of sync. Dawn simulation helps the user wake during hours before the first crack of sunlight. With a BioBrite SunRise Alarm Clock, a warm, glowing light gradually increases before reaching full brightness; mimicking the natural dawn, coaxing the user out of sleep efficiently and restfully. It can be very soothing to rise in this manner instead of jolting awake to an annoying traditional alarm in a dark room!
With light therapy, a patient sits at a prescribed distance from a light box for a certain length of time. That length is usually prescribed by a doctor, depending on the patient’s needs. The standard lux requirement is 10,000 lux at between 18 and 20 inches and the treatment should be every morning, from 20 minutes to an hour. The light box is great for those who have more sedentary schedules in the mornings. If they desire mobility, the patient may prefer to use a light visor, usually in the mornings after waking. By wearing a visor on your head, the light is positioned above the eyes more naturally than with a light box. And, because the light has further to travel to reach your eyes, the treatment time is usually cut in half. You should consult with your eye doctor before trying light therapy to see whether a box or a visor is best for you.
Note: With light therapy, your eyes must be open in order to receive treatment. Because with the dawn simulator your eyes are closed, dawn simulation is not a viable source of light therapy.
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