What’s the most excruciating ADHD symptom you (or your child) have to deal with?
Is it the inattention? The over activity? The difficulty to follow through? The impulsivity? The fatigue?
Or is it the depression and sleep problems?
You may be surprised to discover that there are natural ways to relieve ADHD, and maybe reduce the dosage of your ADHD medication.
In this post you’ll discover:
1. Bright light therapy in the morning hours is proven to considerably reduce attention deficit disorder.
2. What is light therapy and how to use it to relieve ADHD (at home!)
3. The 2 best light therapy boxes/lamps to use (hint: they are similar to those used in the studies).
The Unexplained Common Symptom of ADHD & What’s Light Got to Do with It
According to a study published in the Biological Psychiatry Journal, 78% of unmedicated adults and a third of unmedicated children with ADHD have an unexplained insomnia.
Are you or your child one of them? Is it difficult for you to fall asleep? Is your body clock off?
Do you feel depressed?
As you can see, you are not alone.
Working on getting a good night’s sleep and dealing with mood disorders are an integral part of the treatment of ADD and ADHD.
Even people without attention deficit disorder develop impaired attention and impulsive behavior when sleep-deprived.
The good news is:
Light therapy is now scientifically proven as a promising natural treatment for these ADHD symptoms, including depression, sleep problems, inattention, impulsive behavior and fatigue.
Light Therapy for ADHD: The Breakthrough Discovery
Bright sunlight is well-known to enhance and re-set our natural circadian rhythms, helping us be alert during the day and to better sleep at night.
It is obvious that sunlight is the strongest influence of the human biological clock, and is a powerful remedy for mood disorders and depression.
Here’s what science has found:
1. This study has found that sunny regions with high solar intensity (such as California, Arizona and Colorado) have a lower prevalence of ADHD.
In fact, sun intensity itself could be responsible for about 34-41% of the variance in ADHD diagnoses in different areas in children in the US!
2. Another study led by Dr. Yuri Rybak of University of Western Ontario, and Dr. Robert Levitan, a clinical researcher at CAMH, was the first to investigate the effectiveness of morning bright light therapy on the delayed sleep/activity rhythm and symptoms of depression often experienced by adults with ADHD.
Participants were exposed to 30 minutes of light therapy, using a full-spectrum fluorescent light box that filtered out ultraviolet rays.
The treatment was demonstrated to markedly reduce several key adult ADHD symptoms.
More than half of the of the study subjects experienced fewer symptoms of depression after light therapy, and nearly a third showed a reduction in adult ADHD symptoms, such as inattention, difficulty following through, impulsivity and fatigue.
What is Light Therapy and How Can You Use it?
Using light therapy (also known as phototherapy and full spectrum light), is very simple and safe.
All you have to do (first thing in the morning) is to sit in front of a specially designed light box with your eyes open, for no more than 30 minutes.
You are not supposed to look directly at the light, and you can use this time to read, write, craft, or just day-dream.
The light box, or light lamp, emits a high intensity light spectrum that you can’t get through your household lighting.
(But you can consider changing your household lighting to full spectrum lights, and enjoy the 7 proven health benefits they offer).
The light box mimics exposure to outdoor light on a clear day and causes biochemical change in your brain that can lift your mood quickly and reset your circadian sleep rhythms.
Here are the exact instructions:
1. The light box/lamp has to be full spectrum from a special (SAD) lamp (10,000 LUX).
2. The light box has to stand at about 12” – 24” away from your eyes.
3. The light therapy box has to be used upon awakening.
Remember, it’s important to consult with your doctor first, to make sure this treatment is right for you.
The 2 Best Light Therapy Boxes/Lamps for ADHD
There are a few types of light boxes and lamps:
Some are large and some are small. Some use fluorescent light (like in Dr. Rybak’s study) and some use LED light.
After researching carefully, I’ve found that in most studies (usually about light therapy for SAD), the light boxes used were large in size, and used fluorescent bulbs to emit the full spectrum light.
So why not do the same?
1. Light Box – Naturebright Suntouch
The Naturebright Suntouch is one of the “oldest” light therapy boxes in the market, and considered very affordable.
It’s large (15.5 x 11.5 x 9 inches) and uses fluorescent bulbs to emit the necessary 10,000 LUX.
Also, it’s the only full spectrum light box to have negative ion therapy in it, which is a great bonus. Clinical studies show that ion therapy has an antidepressant effect within a few days of use.
The price is relatively low right now on Amazon, yet quality is not affected.
See my detailed review here.
2. Light Lamp – Day Light Sky
If you prefer a lamp over a box – No problem. The Day Light Sky bright light therapy lamp emits the required 10,000 LUX through fluorescent bulbs, but also has a lower intensity option, to use for reading, studying, crafts or anything you need good lighting for.
The Day Light Sky (recommended by the Center of Environmental Therapeutics) has a solid build and it’s easy to set up.
Its base is heavy which makes it stable. It’s also surprisingly adjustable (the head arm can be locked into different angles).
These added benefits will cost you though. The Day Light Sky is more than double the price of the Naturbright, but you can find a nice discount for it on Amazon right now.
Before You Go, Here’s the Light You Should Avoid, Especially at Night
While bright light therapy is proven to aid with ADHD symptoms effectively, there’s one type of light you should avoid, especially at night:
According to Harvard Health website:
Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night.
And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.
The blue light disrupts your sleep patterns, which as shown above can worsen ADHD symptoms.
It is so important, that scientists from John Carroll University have developed glasses, night lights and light bulbs designed to block blue light, therefore altering a person’s circadian rhythm, which leads to improvement in ADHD symptoms and sleep disorders.
If you must use bright handheld or laptop devices at night, at least wear orange blue-blocking glasses orange safety glasses that cost around $15.
Bright light therapy is proven to reduce attention deficit disorder symptoms naturally, through regulating sleep patterns and mood boosting throughout the day.
Use a large light therapy box or lamp, which emits 10,000 LUX through fluorescent bulbs for 30 minutes in the mornings, and give it more than a week before you expect results.
Avoid blue light wavelengths in the evening, a few hours before you go to sleep to keep the good results and to assist your body to sleep when it’s supposed to.
You may be surprised by how this simple treatment can prevent a few of the most disturbing symptoms of ADHD, for you or your child.
Don’t forget to consult a doctor before you start with light therapy for ADHD.
If you have any experience with light, we’ll be super interested in hearing about it. Share with us in the comments below.
To your health & happiness,
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.