Sun exposure is necessary for all life, and its rays strongly influence human well-being. Like any living thing, us humans need the benefits the sun gives us to thrive and function properly. Think back to days which you spent in the sun, and reflect on how you feel. It is common to feel happier and more relaxed after soaking in some rays, and there is a scientific explanation to back this up. Light from the sun stimulates the release of the hormone serotonin, which increases happiness! Along with serotonin, light also produces the release of melatonin, which helps us naturally go to sleep and wake up at the right time.
Although sunlight is needed for us to survive, it is often difficult for us to get the proper amount of light needed. Many of us spend our days inside, and are impacted by the seasons such as winter, where sunlight is sparse. Due to this and our heavy use of technology, our body is often confused by the light signals it receives, straining our ability to get a sound sleep.
A study comparing the sleep patterns of employees without office windows to those with windows in their office space showed that those who got sunlight access slept an average of 46 more minutes per night and tended to be more physically active and generally happier.
Because the wellness of many individuals has been impacted by lack of natural light sources, light therapy methods were created as a solution. These therapy methods mimic the light given from the sun, and offer the same benefits that sunlight brings. This artificial light substitutes regular sunlight that may be difficult to get enough of, and offers all the benefits of the sun’s light without the harmful UV rays. Like the sun, this light improves mental and physical health as it promotes proper sleep cycles and lifts mood by helping your body release happy hormones.
Results a study where the impacts of artificial light treatment were analyzed, showed that, in comparison to those who were exposed to 100 lux (a measure of illumination) a day, those exposed to 2500 lux a day reported:
- The ability to fall asleep faster
- An increase in sleep time
- Decreased insomnia intensity
- Decreased pre-sleep anxiety
- Improved overall daytime functioning
- Less daytime fatigue
- Less daytime sleepiness
These alternative light producers bring the proper amount of sunlight into your daily life, and can also work around your busy schedule. In the form of lamps, bulbs and boxes, light therapy can be used while you are reading, working, doing chores, or really, doing anything.
If you find yourself not getting tired at night, or lacking energy when your alarm sounds in the morning, methods like light therapy can greatly help reset your internal sleep clock.
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