When the days get shorter and you realize that you constantly feel tired and do not wake up rested after a full night’s sleep, you may be suffering from the winter blues. Light therapy is a simple, effective, safe and natural way to recover. You will sleep better and you will feel your energy and good mood return. If you are considering purchasing a light therapy lamp, pay attention to a number of things when using and purchasing it. What is the best light therapy lamp?
- Autumn blues or winter blues?
- Using a light therapy lamp
- Buy a light therapy lamp
Autumn blues or winter blues?
The fact that you feel anything but mentally and physically fit during the autumn and winter months is due to a lack of light, which has a direct effect on a number of processes in the body. With too little light, the body produces more sleep hormone melatonin (needed to fall asleep easily) compared to the various activation hormones and neurotransmitters, which makes it difficult for you to get up, is slow to get going and makes you feel constantly tired. Light therapy for winter blues works. It has even been scientifically proven.
Using a light therapy lamp
Since light therapy is included in our healthcare, you can go to some hospitals and mental health institutions for this. Of course, there are pros and cons to light therapy outdoors and at home . In contrast to light therapy at home, treatment in the hospital or at the mental health service means professional guidance and usually reimbursement through health insurance. In addition, it certainly means a significant burden on your agenda: for 5 to 10 sessions of 30 to 60 minutes, in the morning and on working days. Furthermore, not every institution in its own region offers this therapy, for which there may even be waiting lists. And repeating it once is often not possible. However, with light therapy at home you do not have to take travel time into account. You decide where and when you sit and even when it is necessary to repeat the therapy. Moreover, other family members can also use it immediately. This makes it very easy to use light therapy as a preventive measure against winter blues. You can
start light therapy at any time of the year . By applying it just after waking up, your body receives the emphatic signal that the day has started. The production of melatonin is suppressed, so that after a while you no longer feel so lethargic and gloomy. You can use the light therapy lamp later in the day (at least before dusk), but you may have difficulty falling asleep in the long run, which means that you have to plan the time of use earlier.
The advice for the treatment period is daily for a minimum of 1 week to a maximum of 3 weeks. To have a lasting effect, the maximum period is recommended for the first time. After that, it is best to repeat the therapy for 7 to 10 days every month during the winter period. However, be ahead of new complaints, so don’t wait too long.
The daily usage time varies per lamp. Depending on the lamp, this can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to even 2 hours. The eyes are exposed to intense light, where the degree of light intensity and the correct wavelength of the light are important. The more optimal this combination with the distance from the eyes to the lamp, the shorter the treatment time.
At the beginning of using the light therapy lamp, the eyes may have to get used to the intense light. It is always possible to place the lamp a little further away or to stop the session a little earlier. Next time the eyes will be less sensitive to light. Usually any mild symptoms, such as headache, nausea or eyestrain, disappear after a few days.
The lamp should be placed diagonally in front of you at an arm’s length, so that the light falls on the eyes, which you must keep open. It is not necessary to look directly into the light, which is certainly not harmful once in a while. While using the lamp, you can simply wear your glasses or contact lenses and continue reading, working on the computer or watching TV.
Buy a light therapy lamp
When purchasing a light therapy lamp, the price and the applicable warranty are of course important. Given the wide choice of lamps, here are a number of additional points of interest and questions to make a well-considered choice. The best light therapy lamp is of course one that meets all your expectations.
- Medical certification: Does the lamp have a CE mark, followed by a number? If the number is missing, the lamp is not medically certified and therefore does not meet certain medical guidelines.
- Daily usage time and distance required: Refer to the lamp’s specifications or official owner’s manual to verify daily usage time and specific distances. As previously indicated, the duration per session can vary between fifteen minutes to 2 hours. A comfortable and non-obstructive distance from the eyes is an arm’s length of about 50 to 60 cm.
- The size and ease of moving: How much space do you have available where the lamp will be placed and how much space do you have to store the lamp? Should the lamp be easy to move?
- Power: Do you always need a socket or does the lamp work with a battery? Do you always have a socket available? How long does the battery provide power?
- Eye safety: How safe is the lamp for the eyes? UV light and lamps that only use blue light (462 nanometers) are harmful to the eyes. Although blue light has the best wavelength for light therapy, the risk of (permanent) eye damage (also known as blue light hazard) is also greater, but combined with other colors there is no longer any danger. UV light from fluorescent lamps is filtered through the transparent cover in front of the lamp. Be careful with it though.
However, before purchasing one, always discuss your health concerns with your doctor first, especially if you have more or different symptoms, are taking medication, have an eye disease or have recently undergone eye treatment.