Since she was in the sixth grade at her school, Lauren was diagnosed with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS). She certainly wasn’t alone either, with an estimated 50-70 million US adults sharing the same sleep disorder, according to American Sleep Association.
This disorder meant for Lauren that a regular sleeping pattern just wasn’t achievable. The woman found it extremely difficult to get the sleep she needed when she needed it and as a result, she found herself drowsy from morning until mid-afternoon.
Her solution? Light therapy. This treatment is used to cure a variety of sleep disorders, including DSPS. The process works by the user sitting near a device that radiates ‘blue light’ in an attempt to replicate natural outdoor light. Experts believe that consistent exposure to this light can have a positive effect on the chemicals in your brain related to mood and sleep.
The science behind it, according to Scott Bea, Psy.D., is that this light is thought to help suppress the delivery of melatonin to the brain. This is the same chemical which facilitates sleep, but the benefits of the light therapy box. Learning about the positive effects of light therapy, Lauren began a three-week experiment to put this theory to the test.
Lauren set up her new device just 12-18 inches away from herself to absorb sufficient light and determined to test the light therapy box every day for three weeks. Each morning Lauren woke up to the natural light and soaked it in for about half an hour (much less than the optimal three hours, but practical enough to feel the benefits).
Unsurprisingly, for the first few days of her test, she found no major changes to her fatigue. However, after just one week, Lauren noticed that her energy levels were higher throughout the day and she was managing to get to sleep at a more reasonable time. Now, Lauren swears by it: her productivity at work has boomed, her mornings were easy and, most importantly, her mood has benefitted too.