Light therapy station will ‘brighten’ your day

Light therapy helps depression, sleep patterns



The station is located past the front desk on the main floor.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

There is a light therapy station located on the main floor of the Chinook Student Center. Next to some of the chairs is a giant lamp to facilitate the therapeutic process.

The light therapy station simulates natural daylight and is meant to be used in the morning or early afternoon, as using the station later in the day can disrupt sleep patterns, according to the sign posted in the Chinook.

Light therapy is meant to provide several benefits. It activates hormones that can help improve mood and energy. The practice can also help regulate sleep patterns, according to the sign.

Light therapy has applications for many mental health conditions. One example of this is seasonal affective disorder.

SAD is a type of depression that usually affects people in the fall and winter months of the year. Its symptoms include sadness, feelings of hopelessness, low energy and thoughts of suicide, according to MedlinePlus.

SAD can be treated by light therapy. The simulated light can make up for the loss of sunlight experienced during the colder seasons, according to MedlinePlus.

Light therapy can also help improve symptoms of nonseasonal depression and somatic, or body-related, symptoms. A study by University of California, Berkeley showed light therapy improved depression, sleep consistency, aches and pains, concentration and appetite in college students.

Results from the study further showed 98% of students were highly satisfied with light therapy, with anecdotes saying they were happy to find a natural treatment for their symptoms instead of relying on medication.

Light therapy, on top of regulating sleep hormones, increases levels of Vitamin D, which is naturally produced when the body is exposed to sunlight, according to Cougar Health Services.

For the best results, it is recommended to use light therapy for 20-30 minutes. It is also recommended to sit two feet away from the light and avoid looking directly into it, according to Cougar Health Services.

The next time you feel gloomy, the light therapy center might be a worthy place to visit. It is a much better alternative to sleeping off depression or staying in a bad mood all day.