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How do Light Therapy Glasses Work? – An Easy Guide

 May 10, 2022

By  Tim Parry

You already know it's something to do with the eyes at the sound of therapy and glasses. Specifically, light therapy glasses help relieve acute sleep deprivation. But, since we turn off lights to sleep better, isn't this concept counterintuitive? As such, how do light therapy glasses work?

Accordingly, this article will shed light (no pun intended) on the sleep healing qualities of light therapy glasses, like the Luminette 3 and Pegasi 2. As a result, this innovation improves the quality of life, including a more productive daytime, improved mental health and a better sleeping routine. Nonetheless, before we understand these sleep-tech glasses, let's first understand the concept of light therapy.

What is Light Therapy?

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy or bright light therapy, is the use of the healing properties of light to treat circadian rhythm and sleep problems. The circadian rhythm is the human body system that aligns body functions to light and darkness patterns. Therefore, phototherapy helps realign the circadian rhythm for hormonal balance.

Naturally, light therapy isn't a new concept, and humans automatically get it upon exposure to sunlight. Nonetheless, changing seasons and work habits have hampered the natural sun's light therapy. In line with this, artificial light therapy devices have been invented, including light therapy boxes and glasses. These devices work differently, with the light therapy glasses believed to be most effective.

In comparison, glasses are ultralight than white light boxes, making them more convenient. Additionally, light therapy from glasses is uninterrupted even when you tilt your head, unlike for boxes that you cannot wear. Also, light therapy glasses specifically produce
blue-enriched white light and monochromatic blue/green light, unlike the full white light spectrum of the boxes. Having understood the preference for phototherapy glasses, let's now get to how they work.

A Light Box in Use

Image Credit: thecut.com

Functionality

Primarily, the light therapy glasses are meant to reset the human mind's biological clock by mimicking the natural sunlight. In light of this functionality, these glasses produce accurate, reliable, safe doses of bright light. When this bright light hits the retina, the photoreceptors signal the pineal gland to cease producing the sleep-inducing hormone (melatonin). Concurrently, the production of the alerting hormone (cortisol) is triggered until you are sufficiently awake.

Remember, hormones are the main drivers of human biochemical processes like eating, digesting, resting and being active. At the heart of these biochemical transitions are the sleep and wake rhythms. Therefore, the bright light from the therapy glasses stimulates your body to start the wake-related biochemical processes of alertness, being active, cognition, mood regulation and eating. As these glasses realign the sleep-wake cycle, they also alleviate the homeostatic sleep pressure, thus improving your sleep.

Consequently, light therapy helps improve productivity during the day, like an energy drink and rest during the night. Ideally, light therapy follows the concept used of bright light used during night shifts. If you have ever wondered how nurses are productive at night, it's because of the bright light therapy, which tricks the body into thinking it's daytime.

Application

Light therapy glasses are ideal during winter since people spend most time indoors, limiting exposure to sunlight. In such inevitable periods, do the light therapy soon after rising from bed and in the early evening hours. Fortunately, you can easily move around with glasses instead of remaining stationary around a light box.

While treating sleeping or circadian-related disorders, ensure you are consistent with the glass therapy. When it comes to exposure time, it may vary from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. Most importantly, follow your doctor's recommendation to avoid ineffectiveness or adverse effects on your eyes.

Conditions Relieved by Light Therapy Glasses

Light therapy glasses cure a wide range of disorders related to abnormal circadian rhythms. Specifically, these glasses isolate and deliver the lower intensity of blue light to cure the conditions to be mentioned. Here are the some of the conditions known to be treated using light therapy glasses:

  • Insomnia (lack of sleep). Like weighted blankets for relieving anxiety, light therapy glasses help align hormones necessary for a good sleep.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition occurs due to seasonal deprivation of light, like during winter. As such, it's also identified as winter depression. SAD may cause social isolation, increased sleeping, reduced initiative, weight gain, reduced appetite, and mood disorders.
  • Morning sleepiness. This condition presents as heavy sleep that makes it difficult to wake up in the morning.
  • Jet lag. This condition often occurs after air travel, making it difficult to adapt to new time zones instantly. Therefore, jet lag can be associated with altered light and darkness patterns while traveling by air.
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome. This condition might be related to insomnia, but it's simply the difficulty of sleeping at the right time. For instance, a person with this disorder will fall asleep late at night, like 1 am and wake up mid-day. So, it's not insomnia since one sleeps but at unconventional times.
  • Advanced sleep phase disorder. A person with this condition will feel sleepy early in the evening or late afternoon. Due to sleeping early, such a person will wake up early, around 2 am, and the cycle continues.

Conclusion

Generally, the working mechanism of these glasses is effective in improving and realigning sleeping patterns. Even so, when facing circadian-related disorders, we recommend seeking the guidance of a doctor. Overall, you now understand the sleeping process, with the sun playing a vital role in differentiating between day and night.

However, overproduction of the alertness hormone may lead to stress which isn't healthy. For instance, it may cause headaches, insomnia, fatigue, photophobia, hypomania and irritability. If such side effects occur, ensure you discontinue using light therapy glasses and consult a doctor. Nonetheless, these glasses only produce safe lower light intensity and not harmful UV rays that may harm your eyes.

Image Credit: pompomsnotbombbombs.org

Tim Parry


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