A Light to Boost Happiness
Light therapy is said said to help reset the brain and balance mood. With our cold, long Minnesota winters, using special lights to help keep circadian rhythm in sync when day light is so short and help prevent those inevitable “winter blues.” Circadian rhythm essentially is just the body’s daily response to changes in light.
Over the years the development of artificial light has changed our bodies natural circadian rhythm. This change can result in fatigue, mood and sleep changes and disorders, and irritability among many other things.
Light therapy is the practice of sitting under or near a bright light lamp of 10,000 lux or brighter. Circadian lighting is the process of controlling the lights intensity, color and timing of light to improve health.
“The area of the brain called the hypothalamus controls each person’s circadian rhythm by receiving signals from the eyes that report when it’s daytime and nighttime. The hypothalamus, in turn, controls the amount of melatonin released to correlate sleepiness with darkness and alertness with lightness,” according to thelightingpractice.com
During the months of November to March, light therapy is used in our homes at English Rose Suites.
Every morning we place the light therapy light near the dining room table or in the room the residents will frequent most in the morning. It’s the easiest way to ensure all residents get touched by the light for at least 20 minutes each day.
“I think they are very helpful, and I see the positive benefits for our residents. If anything, it is another one of the many ways we help support
the residents in a non-pharmacological approach,” said Katie Rinehimer, Quality of Life Director.
When it’s dark out and there is little light exposure, the darkness tells the body to create melatonin which cause drowsiness and sleepiness. With bright light exposure it increases the production of serotonin which improves mood and happiness. This slowly allows the body restore its natural sleep/wake cycle and can help create a better quality, more restful night’s sleep which in return usually increases mood, wakefulness and decreases agitation which overall boosts quality of life.