Using Light Therapy Depression Treatment


Using Light Therapy Depression Treatment

Light therapy depression treatment has been found to be useful for all types of depression.

In fact, whether you have depression or not, bright light has the benefits of boosting our moods, reducing our brain’s stress response, keeping our body clock in sync, and even making us more sociable. [1].

And as you will learn later in this article, receiving light therapy at the appropriate timings can also improve the quality of sleep (link downwards), an important factor in maintaining physical and mental/emotional well-being as well as fighting depression.

When it comes to administering light therapy depression treatment, it is simple and you have several options.


Sunlight is a natural source of antidepressant, since it is naturally available and it promotes the release of serotonin, an important mood regulator.

In turn, a study on the effects of sunlight on the light-deprived depressive found that an hour of walk every morning under the sun brought full remission to 50% of seasonal depression patients within a week [2].

There are added benefits to getting your supply of bright light outdoors, especially in a natural setting (e.g. a park, garden, backyard).

The exposure to the natural outdoor setting can help reduce stress hormones and feelings of anxiety. In addition, you could also combine your daily light therapy sessions with other antidepressant lifestyle elements like exercise or social interaction (e.g. picnics, outdoor meals). [1]

Amount of sunlight needed

Hence, the first option for light therapy depression treatment simply involves getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of bright sunlight daily [3, 4].

Sitting indoors next to a big sunny window probably gives you light of moderate intensity (approximate to a 2500 lux light box). With such light intensity, you might need about 1 to 3 hours (the norm in early clinical research using such moderate intensity light) of light therapy depression treatment for effectiveness. [2]

On an overcast day, it is less bright outside (the lighting could be approximate to only a 1000 lux light box), so you would need at least a few hours of exposure to achieve the same clinical effect [1].

The light box

Besides natural sunlight, research suggests that any bright light source (e.g. fluorescent, incandescent, etc) can be effective when it comes to light therapy depression treatment. [2]

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