You might be familiar with light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression linked to the shorter days of autumn and winter. But now, recent research suggests that light therapy might also be helpful for depression and sleep problems linked to perimenopause.
The October 2018 study, presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, analyzed the results of previous research on the topics of perimenopausal depression and low-quality sleep. Researchers found that they were able to improve the mood scores of study participants in as little time as two weeks — with the help of light therapy and sleep intervention techniques.
“This study demonstrates that women with perimenopausal depression and sleep issues may now have a non-pharmacological and non-hormonal option that may help with sleep and improve their mood,” said lead author Barbara Parry, MD, in a press release.
But what is light therapy, exactly? According to the Mayo Clinic, light therapy involves exposure to artificial light to treat SAD and other conditions. But light therapy doesn’t mean simply sitting under a light bulb and expecting magic to happen. Instead, light therapy requires you to sit near a special device called a light therapy box, which gives off a bright light that mimics the natural rays found outdoors.
Experts think light therapy affects brain chemicals linked to both mood and sleep. So, it’s little wonder why many people suffering from SAD have turned to light therapy for relief. It’s worth noting that light therapy boxes may also help people with other types of depression and sleep disorders. And based on the exciting new research, it looks like light therapy for perimenopause may help countless other women with pesky symptoms as well.
“The results of this study will hopefully lead to additional research that will provide symptomatic women more options than were previously available,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, the executive director of NAMS, in the press release.
If you think that light therapy for perimenopause might help you, talk to your doctor about trying it. You just might leave glowing!