Which sleep disorders does light therapy treat most effectively?

I know that light therapy is a treatment option for certain sleep disorders. I occasionally having trouble sleeping, and wanted to find a non-invasive treatment option. Does light therapy treatment occur in my own home? When should light therapy be used and which sleep disorders does it most effectively treat?

Doctors Answers (2)

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 6/12/2014

Bright Light Therapy is used to manage circadian rhythm disorders such as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), a condition which shifts the normal sleeping pattern outside what is considered the social norm. People who have DSPS generally do not fall asleep until several hours after midnight and have trouble waking up in the morning, making adhering to a normal work or school schedule difficult. However, if allowed to follow their own schedules, their quality of sleep is otherwise normal. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, uses a full-spectrum lamp or portable visor, for 30-90 minutes at the patient's usual time of spontaneous awakening, or shortly before. Treatment sometimes uses sunlight. If you have a family history of macular degeneration, you should consult with an eye doctor prior to starting Bright Light Therapy. In some cases, light therapy can be helpful for people with insomnia. If you are working with your primary care doctor or a sleep specialist for insomnia, you can ask if this is an appropriate treatment for you. Light therapy might be indicated if you have tried other forms of treatment or if your doctor thinks your particular insomnia symptoms call for this mode of therapy.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 6/10/2014

Circadian rhythm disorders.