The light therapy product Sun Touch Plus from NatureBright has been recommended by Dr. Chris Idzikowski from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre for relieving Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Dr. Idzikowski is a pioneer in the area of sleep science and chairs the British Sleep Society.
SAD was first described in the U.S. in 1984. People with the disorder suffer from depression during the wintertime and may also sleep more, overeat and crave carbohydrates.
"Because we operate best when there is light, our brain is organised around it -- there's also a 24-hour clock that predicts when we ought to be operating properly and it is synchronised by light," says Dr. Idzikowski. "Because the seasons change with light and one needs to have an internal clock that matches the season and keeps us operating properly -- dawn light is the synchroniser."
Dr. Idzikowski comments that light therapy in the morning can treat SAD. "It has been discovered that retinal ganglion cells in our eyes are light-sensitive, particularly to blue light, and that the output of these cells goes directly to the brain's biological clock. The clock normally adjusts to the new day and season by speeding up with exposure to dawn light. In the winter there is less light available to speed the clock up so it starts to drift and run the wrong time, causing a cascade of problems resulting in SAD."
Dr. Idzikowski says Sun Touch Plus, provided by the U.S. Healthcare brand, NatureBright, produces a simulated dawn to help resynchronize one's internal clock. "Where in fact the light comes on before you wake up and even though you have your eyes closed, there is still about 40% light transmission through the eyelids that gets through to the ganglion cells. Therefore, they start resetting your biological clock before you get up," says Dr. Idzikowski. "The Sun Touch Plus light therapy device has an effect on shift-work, jet-lag, alertness and sleep."