It’s common for adults to feel a bit run down and tired at times. Modern day living can be stressful, especially if you are one of the millions of people in the States who are constantly balancing work, family and social obligations. However, if you feel constantly fatigued and tired for days on end, regardless of how much sleep you get, there could be an underlying problem that needs to be treated. In this article we will take a look at some common causes of tiredness and how blue light therapy can help to bring your energy levels back up.
Circadian rhythm disorders
Your circadian rhythm is the body’s “internal clock.” It is responsible for the physiological and psychological changes throughout the day. It helps to regulate your temperature and tells the body when it is time to sleep and time to wake. If your circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can turn into one of many different sleep disorders. These include:
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS): This disorder affects the timing of your sleep. People with DSPS tend to fall asleep very late (hours after midnight) and have difficulty waking up in the morning.
Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS): ASPS is another timing disorder where the patient feels tired in the evening and wakes up much earlier than desired.
Jet Lag: Jet lag occurs in people who have traveled across multiple time zones. Patients often feel excessively sleepy and have a lack of alertness during the day.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder: This disorder affects those who work night shifts or are constantly changing their shifts around.
Non 24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder: Patients with this disorder have a normal sleep pattern but live in a 25 hour day, so they experience insomnia at different times every night.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Another cause of decreased energy levels could be the result of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a seasonal type of depression that affects most people during the dark winter months. It has similar symptoms to typical depression and is the result of not receiving enough sunshine during the day.
Depression is more than just feeling sad for a day or two. It is marked by persistent feelings of hopelessness and sadness that last for weeks or months. People with depression cannot just “snap out of it” – they require proactive treatments in order to overcome their illness. Common symptoms of depression include: anxiety, decreased appetite, decreased libido, loss of pleasure in everyday experiences, insomnia, feelings of guilt, loss of energy and difficulty concentrating.
Other Causes of Fatigue
In addition to the causes mentioned above, there are many other factors that contribute to low energy levels. If you have any type of illness or even a slight cold, this can greatly impact how you feel during the day. Your lifestyle also greatly impacts your energy, including your diet and alcohol consumption. Other contributors can include prescription and non-prescription drugs, stress, overwork and boredom.
Using blue light therapy
If you suffer from tiredness for any of the above reasons, one really effective way to increase your energy levels is to use blue light therapy. This type of therapy uses a circadian blue light box that the patient sits near for up to 2 hours a day. The light used is a special wavelength of blue light found in the sun’s spectrum. This light, when isolated, has been found to effectively treat people who are light deficient.
How the light works
When the patient sits near the light box, the high luminosity mimics the light you would receive from the sun. When the light hits the back of the eye, it speaks to the hypothalamus, which is responsible for the production of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is your “feel good” chemical that regulates your appetite and mood. The light increases the serotonin in the body while suppressing melatonin, which is responsible for your sleep pattern.
Light therapy is a great way to safely and effectively increase your energy levels. It has been shown to alleviate depression, SAD and help regulate circadian rhythms. If you experience little results after a few weeks of use, you may want to consult your doctor to make sure there are no serious problems underlying your fatigue.