How to Use Bright Light Therapy for Sleep Problems

light therapy for sleep problems

Why can’t I sleep like a normal person?

My friend asked me, while her yawn threatens to swallow me.

I am never tired at bedtime, I stay awake until 2am and I need 5 alarm clocks to wake me up in the morning. After work I fall to my bed until 4pm. It’s so frustrating, I want to sleep at night and be awake during the day!

If you have similar sleep problems, you are probably suffering from some sort of a sleep disorder too and specifically a  “Circadian Rhythms Sleep Disorder”.

What’s Causing Your Sleep Disorder?

Your body has an internal clock that tells it when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to be asleep. This clock is located in your brain, just above an area from which the nerves travel to your eyes.

This clock controls the circadian rhythms in your body, including your body temperature and many other daily cycle hormones.

These circadian (circadian means 24 hours) rhythms make you feel alert or sleep at regular times every day. When you have a circadian sleep disorder, it causes you to feel sleepy during the day, when you are supposed to work and be active, and vice versa.

How to Use Light Therapy for Sleep Problems

Among other factors, your body clock is affected by light exposure.

You can re-set a clock that is off by being exposed to bright light. This is exactly what bright light therapy does for your sleep disorder.

 Bright light therapy for sleep problems is used to expose your eyes to intense (10,000 lux), but SAFE amounts of light, in a specific wavelength and specific time. This light affects your body clock in the same way that natural sunlight does.

The time of day when the light is used will depend upon the disorder it is meant to correct. The timing of light exposure is critical.

For Delayed Sleep-Phase Disorder (late sleep-wake times), for example, the light must be provided as soon after spontaneous awakening as possible to achieve the desired effect.

Some users have reported success with lights that turn on shortly ”before” awakening (dawn simulation). Morning use may also be effective for non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome, while evening use is recommended for advanced sleep phase syndrome.

What Kind of Light Therapy Devices Are There?

Now that you know how and when to use bright light therapy for your specific sleep problem, it’s time to choose the type of light therapy device that you want.

Option #1 – Light Boxes

philips wakeup light

This is the most common home device used by people around the world. You have to choose a bright light box at an intensity of about 10,000 lux, which means you will only need 15-30 minutes of treatment.  The light box sits on the top of your table or desk and plugs into the wall.

Distance from eyes: You will be about 18 to 24 inches away from the light, and you don’t have to look straight into the light (I recommend not to), you just have to face in the direction of the light. You can read a book, work on papers, what ever you want,

Recommended light boxes: The NatureBright SunTouch is very popular and I think the cheapest one I know. You can read my review for it to get more details about it – Right Here.

[yellowbox]Our #1 recommendation though is Carex Day-Light Sky Lamp – See full review HERE.[/yellowbox]

Option #2 – Desk Lamps

This type is better suited for the office. It has the same qualities of a light box, but it is made to look like a normal lamp.

The most popular ones are the NatureBright Deluxe Light Therapy Lamp and the Verilux Deluxe Desk Lamp.

Option #3 – Dawn Stimulators

 These devices gradually make a dark room brighter and brighter, over a set period of time, simulating the sunrise. Many people (including me) find that it helps them wake up early naturally and easily, instead of having another fight with the annoying alarm clock.

The most popular device (and my favorite) is definitely the Philips Wake-up Light. You can see my review about it – Right Here.

What about you? Have you ever tried using bright light therapy for insomnia? Let me know in the comments…

To your health and 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Love the day simulator! My husband has trouble with his circadian rhythms and for years we tried various alarm clocks that would be very LOUD to try and wake him up in the morning. None ever worked, but they all would scare me half to death in the morning and leave me with lethargy and a migraine for most of the day.

    When his mom got us a dawn simulator for a birthday, we’ve been sleeping better and wake up naturally–no more heart pumping wake ups! Well, that was until our daughter was born. 😉