Optimizing Your Sleep With Green Light Therapy

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In recent years, light therapy glasses have gained some traction for the potential health benefits they may bring. In this article, we’re shedding some light on what light therapy is and putting your questions about light therapy glasses to bed.

What is Light Therapy?

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy or heliotherapy, is a scientifically-proven method of treatment for a variety of physical and mental conditions caused by the lack of or insufficient exposure to light.

Light therapy involves exposure to light for a certain amount of time. The light could be from a natural source (like outdoor daylight) or artificial light sources (like light therapy glasses).

Here’s how it works: When your body is exposed to light (be it natural or artificial), it starts to think that you’re exposed to natural sunshine, which then boosts the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone), serotonin (a mood-stabilizing hormone), among other biological responses. Depending on the intended results, the light is adjusted in intensity, color (or light wavelength), and duration.

Even if you don’t have sleeping issues, proper use of light therapy can offer you a ton of health benefits, which can lead to healthier habits and a better overall lifestyle.

Health Conditions That Can Benefit From Light Therapy

Among its many health benefits, light therapy is most commonly used to treat circadian and sleep-related disorders, such as:

How to Use Light Therapy

When starting light therapy, make sure to talk with your doctor. Light therapy can affect other treatments or medications you’re currently taking.

Light therapy glasses can be worn and used at any time, no matter where you are. Some light therapy glasses can even be worn on top of your prescription glasses. There are also visor-like light therapy devices designed to provide light to your face.

Generally, though, there are some general tips that can help you get the best results.

  • Do light therapy sessions in the morning: Research shows that light therapy is most effective during the early morning (around 6 to 9 a.m.) as it simulates the morning sun. Depending on your light therapy device, there may be preferable times indicated.
  • Avoid light exposure before bedtime: This can lead to difficulty sleeping or insomnia. Similarly, avoid using any electronics such as your phone or tablet at least an hour before sleeping. 
  • Start off with 20-30 minutes of light exposure: Do this for several weeks to help you ease into your new routine. Sudden and prolonged light exposure may have the opposite negative effect on your circadian rhythm.
  • Do not stare directly at the light source: This may be a bit obvious, but staring at the light source can damage your eyes, especially when the light intensity is high.
  • Choose a low UV light-emitting device: Strong UV light or prolonged exposure can cause eye and skin damage. To avoid this, make sure to buy from reputable brands that offer light therapy devices that filter out UV wavelengths.
  • Make it a habit: Light therapy is not a one-and-done treatment. For noticeable results, make sure you conduct multiple consecutive sessions.

For your safety and the maximum effectiveness of the treatment, make sure you take time to read and follow the instructions or guidelines that come with your device.

Potential Benefits of Light Therapy For Sleep

As mentioned above, light therapy offers a ton of health benefits, including:

  • Healthier sleeping habits
  • Resets your circadian rhythm
  • Improves mood
  • Daily energy boost (due to better sleep)
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased cognitive function

Potential risks of Light Therapy

Light therapy also has its risks and side effects, which vary from person to person. For some, you may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Irritability
  • Hypomania
  • Nausea

Take note that light therapy is not for everyone, especially those with certain conditions. Light therapy is not recommended if:

  • You are 12 years old or younger, as your eyes are still developing.
  • You have a skin condition that makes you sensitive to light, such as lupus.
  • You suffer from chronic headaches.
  • You have an eye condition that makes you susceptible to light damage.

If you have a history of bipolar disorder, consult your doctor before attempting to use light therapy.


Light therapy is a proven non-invasive and non-pharmacological way that can be used to treat a wide range of mood and sleeping disorders, such as insomnia, SAD, depression, and more. Although it’s not a cure-all, light therapy could ease and manage your symptoms, which can lead to better overall mental and physical health. 

Light therapy is relatively safe, but make sure to consult a doctor or sleep specialist first so they can devise a safe and effective light therapy plan for you.

Source List

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Maruani J, et al. (2019). Bright Light as a Personalized Precision Treatment of Mood Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6405415/pdf/fpsyt-10-00085.pdf

Melrose, S. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: an overview of assessment and treatment approaches. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/2015/178564/

Oldham A, et al. (2013). Bright light therapy for depression: A review of its effects on chronobiology and the autonomic nervous system. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07420528.2013.833935?journalCode=icbi20

Stephenson, C. (2021). Special considerations for treatment of hypersomnias. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128229637000992

Wang S, et al. (2020). Bright light therapy in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0232798