How Does Light Therapy Work?

The light in our rooms, at our desks and in our offices has a tangible, observable effect on our mood, ability to focus and productivity.

If you have effectively placed luxury desk lamps with a bulb of the correct light temperature, you can create either a soothing, relaxing atmosphere to relax and read in or an atmosphere that is ideal for work.

However, there are cases where the right choice of lighting can make the world of difference for people suffering from a particular type of depression.

For some people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people strongest during colder, winter months where there is less sunlight. This lasts longer and has more serious symptoms than traditional winter blues.

The exact causes are still being studied, but part of the problem is linked to the production of serotonin, the mood hormone that also affects sleep and appetite and has been linked to depression.

One of the main treatments for SAD has been light therapy, which attempts to use a specially designed bright light lamp to simulate exposure to sunlight during times when natural sunlight is harder to access.

Whilst various bulbs are used, the most popular use full-spectrum light (10,000 lux), which a person sits in front of for between 30 and 45 minutes each day from Autumn to Spring. This type of bulb is even stronger than many “daylight” rated light bulbs.

Often this is done at the start of the day, but this can vary depending on a doctor’s advice, as the light therapy will affect the body’s circadian rhythm.