Light Therapy | How to stop depression, brain fog and SAD syndrome in their tracks.

How much time and money have you wasted popping pills that could, or should, or might, solve the problems that worry you the most? And then don’t?

If you get SAD syndrome and mild depression in the grey months of the year; can’t sleep at night or suspect you have ‘brain fog’ (which you desperately hope isn’t an early sign of more serious problems) then nature, in conjunction with some very clever scientists, might have the answer for you in the shape of light therapy in various forms.

Light – Nature’s Greatest Gift

Light is one of nature’s greatest gifts to mankind. Its wavelengths and frequencies, both visible and invisible, are the key to many types of healing. Even thousands of years ago, its properties were recognised by the doctors and philosophers of their time. Hippocrates, at his clinic in Kos, rated sunshine the greatest healer. The Egyptians healed with coloured lights.

Various companies, most of them small and independent, have looked at the properties of different light frequencies and worked out how they can be most beneficial. Some of them are affordable, some of them less so. But a great deal of research and time has been spent in their development and the following three products really do work.

I know that because either I, or someone I trust a lot who has the problem the machine is said to resolve, have trialled them. So, in the hope that the information will be useful to you, here are my top three light therapy inventions:

1. Problems getting to sleep at night

How much time do you spend on your phone? On your iPad? On your laptop or PC? Latest statistics say young adults in the U.K. use their mobiles an average of five hours a day. In the United States it’s even more: people spend an average of 7.4 hours looking at screens of various sorts - either TV, computers, tablets or phones. That’s a huge proportion of their time. All of these machines give out frequencies that are not thought to be beneficial for human health. You can’t see them, but they are there – and not good for you.

It’s the blue rays in particular that cause the problems. They tire your eyes, drain your energy and interfere with your sleep, disturbing your rest, though you may not even be aware that that’s why you have problems at night. Over 70% of us sleep within reach of our phone. And most of us check it religiously - sometimes for hours - before we attempt to drift off. And therein lies the problem. Blue light is a signal to your brain that it’s daytime, and time to wake up. Reading on your iPad or phone late at night affects your circadian rhythms and interferes with your production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. So what can you do about it?

The OcuShield

The solution that seems simplest to me is the screen developed by an optician concerned about the effects of light on vision. Particularly the connection between the blue light and the development of Age-related Macular Degeneration. He created an inexpensive, specially formulated film that fits precisely, and invisibly, over your phone or tablet screen, cutting out all damaging UV rays so that you can read late at night without interrupting your sleep. Block the blue light from your electronic devices and hey, presto, when it comes to bed, your body will stay in sleep-time mode instead. And hopefully your rest will be restored.

2. Brain fog? Shallow sleep? Waking up exhausted?

Try the Vielight 810. This is my personal favourite (mainly because it sorted the issue I struggled with - brain fog - and has rapidly, and very firmly, kicked it away into the long grass! I had noticed that my brain wasn’t as sharp as it used to be; I was frequently walking up the stairs to do something specific, getting halfway up and realising I had no clue what that was. Then I would give up and walk back downstairs again, at which point it would all come flooding back and I would set off once again. Sound familiar? And slightly frightening? And if you mention it to the doctor, as I did, he just told me it was a sign of getting older and it happened to everyone. Not at all re-assuring.

I was researching things that make a difference to sleep when I came across the Vielight 810, and noticed one of its ‘side-effects’ was a clear brain. I bought it straight away and have been using it now daily for 6 weeks. It’s a bit odd, because you have to clip it to the inside of your nose where it beams specific frequencies of light up into your brain. But you rapidly get used to it, and it’s only for 25 minutes at a time. I love it, and couldn’t now start my day without it. Best of all my brain is back with a vengeance and I haven’t done the stairs thing for weeks now. I also notice my sleep has deepened, which is a much appreciated side effect - though it’s actually the main selling point of the invention. (This machine is more expensive than the others written about here, so, having bought my own, I called the company to ask if there was any possibility of a discount for any readers who might be interested. Remarkably, they kindly offered 10% off the list price with the code RBH10 –

3. SAD syndrome

Do you struggle with the grey winter months, dreading the coming of the autumn and the arrival of January, February and March each year? One in 3 of us in the U.K. suffer from SAD syndrome, and in the US up to 20% of the population are affected by depression and the winter blues, women more frequently than men. Lack of light plays a part, and the further north you live and the less sunshine you are exposed to, the worse the problem. What to do about it? Putting the light back re-jigs your brain and your mood along with it. The Yumalite is a product made by Sota Industries, a remarkable Canadian health company that I have been keeping an eye on for decades now ( It attaches to your head beaming either white or red LEDs into your eyes. The frequencies penetrate deep into your brain, regulating your circadian rhythms and stimulating melatonin. The red light also helps balance the exposure we all suffer from the overload of blue rays given off by our computers, tablets and phones. The Yumalite is small and light. You can wear it and walk around the house, getting on with your normal day, which means that it’s an easy therapy to incorporate into your usual routine for 20 minutes each morning. Do it first thing in the morning and perk up your day. It worked for my guinea pig friend, who has suffered from depression and anxiety through the winter for more than a decade now. He reports a spring in his step and a new lightness in his heart. May his depression be a permanent thing of the past.

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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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