Sleep Problem Guide

For decades, doctor's have recommended light therapy for treating mood and sleep problems. This is because a center in your brain's hypothalamus (called the body clock) uses the light found in natural sunlight to regulate sleep, wake, and energy cycles. If you struggle with sleep, mood, or energy, your body may not be responding properly to normal light cycles.

Problems with Sleep - (Our Modern Lifestyle is Part of the Problem)

Our lifestyles have changed dramatically over the last several decades.  We are experiencing longer workdays and we spend most of our leisure time indoors. In fact, studies show that adults across America are spending less than one hour outdoors each day, far less than in the past.

The problem is that the center in our brain that regulates sleep depends on signals like bright sunlight at dawn and weak sunlight at dusk to know when to tell us to wake up and go to sleep.  Our current lifestyles just don't allow us to get these needed signals anymore.

Each of us has an internal body clock called the Suprachaismatic Nucleus that regulates daily sleep/wake patterns (also known as circadian rhythm).  The body clock depends on these light signals to function properly each day.  When we don't get these signals, our sleep/wake patterns suffer.

The Benefits of Sleep

There’s nothing more refreshing than a good night’s sleep. It renews your energy, makes you more alert and provides important benefits for your mind and body. You need adequate sleep to be alert during the day to perform your best.

These benefits include improving your mood and energy. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll have a boost in mood and energy, and after establishing a good sleeping routine, you’ll also feel better.

Controlling Your Sleep Schedule

Light helps control your sleep schedule. However, you can get a little out of whack with the demands of modern schedules. This can occur during the winter when you need to wake up while it is still dark outside or due to other schedule issues such as shift work.

Without early morning light signaling you to wake up, you may have a hard time getting out of bed. You may experience winter doldrums—where you feel sleepier during the winter months when daylight hours are shortened. Evening shift work and other irregularities can also put you at odds with your body’s natural tendency to feel sleepy when it is dark and energized during the day.

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