Light therapy is a method to treat seasonal affective disorder as well as other certain conditions such as dementia with the use of artificial light.
An individual undergoing light therapy sits near a device called a light therapy box which gives off a bright light mimicking natural outdoor light. This combined with other types of treatment has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, increase levels of energy, and help regulate sleep cycles. Sleep disturbances, common in those with Alzheimer’s, can lead to increased agitation in the late afternoon and early evening called sundowning.
Sleep and wake patterns are directly affected by the body’s circadian rhythms. With appropriate timing, circadian stimulation in those with Alzheimer’s can help reduce some of the symptoms of cognitive impairment and improve sleep cycles. This therapy helps allow individuals to remain independent for a longer period promoting a better quality of life while living with dementia.