Like plants, humans need natural light
Americans now spend up to 90% of our lives inside - largely under synthetic lighting and without much natural light at all. Think about what that would mean for a houseplant, for a second. Without sunlight, the plant would slowly wither up; no matter how much water you gave it.
Just like our leafy friends, human bodies also depend upon sunlight to regulate their biological functions. Lack of sun exposure can throw our natural body clock (AKA the circadian rhythm), into a destructive tailspin. Sleep-wake patterns, digestion, the immune system, mood regulation, hormonal balance, metabolism, and a host of other functions are all within firing range of an out-of-whack body clock.
One of the most common side effects of circadian rhythm dysfunction is winter blues, this form of clinical depression is most prevalent during the fall and winter months, when people living further away from the Equator experience less daylight hours.
There are countless other symptoms of sunlight deficiency: weight gain, stunted growth and development in children, nearsightedness, lethargy, chronic illnesses; the list goes on.
Needless to say, humans need natural light - and we just aren’t getting enough.
So, how can light help?
Enter the gamechanger: light therapy. Simply put, sunlight therapy lamps can help humans compensate for our indoor lifestyles by mimicking the natural light we so desperately need.
Natural sunlight helps our bodies release important hormones that regulate biological functions. One of the most important hormones is Melatonin - which signals our body when it’s time to sleep. And with a good night’s rest, our body is free to go about its regularly scheduled programming. This will lead to healthier sleep patterns and a better night’s rest. And, the rest, they say, is history.
Choosing a Light Therapy Lamp
When it comes to light therapy, not just any old desk lamp will do. That’s why, light therapy lamps must be full spectrum, which essentially means that the lightbulb spans the full spectrum of visible light, but filters out the dangerous forms of light, like ultraviolet.
Here are a few ways you can use light therapy to improve your overall health and wellbeing:
Use your light therapy lamp for 30-60 minutes between 8am-12pm, local time. This will tell your body that it’s time to wake up at the right time
Create a routine with the light therapy lamp by using it at around the same time every day
Place the light therapy lamp at your work desk or in another place where you spend most of your time in the morning
Position the lightbox at eye level or higher and about two-feet away from your face. Remember to keep the placement off to the side so you don’t have to look directly into the light
Do you have questions about how light therapy can impact your overall health? Ask us in the comments below!