The sun: the
fountain of life
Sunlight is life’s
most basic requirement. Nothing would exist without it, and lack of
adequate sunlight quickly drains our vitality and energy. The volume
of light is highest in summer, when the days are longest and
The amount of light
is measured in lux, the international unit of illuminance. One lux
corresponds to the volume of light produced by one candle measured
one metre away. On a normal summer’s day, the volume of sunlight is
around 50 000-100 000 lux outdoors. In an office, the volume of light
is 300-500 lux. In November, the illuminance can drop to 500 lux
illuminance produced by normal indoor lighting is 10-100 lux. This is
a thousand times less than the volume of natural light on an average
As the autumn
advances, the shortening of the days is a common cause for winter
blues. Around 12 percent of Finns suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective
Disorder). The less severe form of SAD is winter blues or subclinical
SAD, which is also much more common, with around 27% of Finns
suffering from it.
Based on user
experience, regular bright light therapy helps maintain good work
flow. Especially office workers and their employers have become aware
of the benefits of bright light therapy.
Shift workers have
also discovered that bright light therapy helps balance their
irregular circadian rhythm. Correctly timed bright light therapy can
also significantly speed up recovery from jet lag.
A bright light
device provides summer morning light throughout the gloomiest winter
circadian rhythm is regulated by melatonin, a hormone produced by the
pineal gland. The body produced this hormone normally during the
night. Melatonin is a bit like the body’s own sleeping pill: when
there is melatonin in the body, the person will feel tired.
Morning light is the
strongest stimulus outside the body that regulates the circadian
rhythm. Of all the factors that regulate the circadian rhythm, the
function of melatonin is best understood. Research shows clearly that
light strongly affects the secretion of melatonin.
When waking up on a
summer morning, light stops the production of melatonin. In winter,
however, it is still dark when it is time to get up. If melatonin is
produced in the morning after waking up (as is the case in the dark
season, i.e. in the autumn and winter), the body clock goes out of
sync, which affects the circadian rhythm. This leads to the “winter
blues”, which normally last from October to March. Symptoms include
craving for carbohydrates and sugary foods, difficulty waking up,
excessive sleepiness, lethargy, and tiredness during the day. So the
shortage of daylight hours is the main culprit behind the winter
Summer morning light
- bright light therapy - is needed on autumn and winter mornings to
stop melatonin production and keep circadian rhythm in sync.
When the production
of melatonin is stopped with bright light therapy in the morning,
melatonin production will start at the right time in the evening.
Bright light therapy is most efficient in the morning right after
Innolux bright light
devices are easy and efficient to use.
Innolux bright light
devices can be used in bright light therapy, which efficiently
compensated for the lack of natural light during winter months.
Innolux bright light devices are medical devices certified by Det
Norske Veritas, which guarantees their efficiency and safety of use.
The devices meet all requirements set for good bright light therapy,
without any side effects such as headache or tired eyes.
For the first two
weeks, bright light therapy should be used daily, and later on five
times a week throughout the winter. The benefit of the therapy can
usually be seen within a week: the user will feel as lively and
energetic as in the summer.
Not all lights are
suited for bright light therapy, as the minimum illumination
requirement for a bright light device is 2 500 lux. The
recommendation is to start with two hours of bright light therapy a
day. The daily duration of the therapy can later be shortened to half
an hour a day. The therapy is most efficient in the morning between 6
and 10. In the evening, bright light therapy can cause difficulties
falling asleep, and so it is not recommended after 6 pm.
Depending on the
type of bright light device, the correct distance from the light is
40-145 cm. This means the distance of the face from the device. The
closer to the light you are, the more efficient and therefore shorter
each therapy session can be. There is no need to look at the light
directly, as long as it is stays in your line of vision. Bright light
therapy does not interrupt any of your everyday activities, as you
can read, eat, work, and watch TV during it.
Bright light therapy
has been studied in Europe and North America for nearly 30 years.
Bright light therapy has been studied widely in Finland also.
Research has yielded
promising results in the treatment of depression and sleep disorders
when medical treatment is not an option (as in case of the
Parkinson’s disease and depression during pregnancy). The results
of bright light therapy have been encouraging also in medical
conditions with clearly seasonal patterns or sleep disorders.
We have collected
the latest international research results, from the National
Institutes of Health in the United States:
New research results have been gained of the benefits of bright light therapy in preventing daytime exhaustion and tiredness with SAD and subclinical SAD patients. Research shows that bright light therapy improves overall wellbeing. Read more about the research.According to a new study, bright light therapy helps SAD patients after as little as one session. Read more about the research.
The study, on the positive impacts on bright light therapy on women suffering from depression during pregnancy, is especially promising, as bright light therapy has no side effects. Read more about the research. New research insights have also been gained on the benefits of bright light therapy in treating non-seasonal depression in teenagers. Read more about the research.