Improve Your Sleep with Red Light Therapy

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Quality sleep is essential for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It’s important to not only get enough sleep, but it’s also key to get deep, restful sleep that aligns with your body’s circadian rhythm. This article discusses the importance of sleep, circadian rhythm, cellular balance, and why healthy light intake is a key ingredient to a good night’s sleep. We’ll also explain how red light therapy is used to enhance sleep and improve cellular function.

Sleep is Essential for Health and Balance

Sleep is a fundamental ingredient for good health and optimal physical function. Like eating nutritious food, hydrating, or being active, you can’t afford to sacrifice restful sleep if you want to stay in shape, look your best, and prevent chronic health problems. Sleep is also crucial for maintaining cellular balance. Biological balance is a pillar of good health, and your cells and body need adequate sleep to function their best.

Your body works and feels better when your cells are creating and using energy as efficiently as possible, with less inflammation and oxidative stress. Lack of quality sleep can have systemic negative effects on the body and disrupt cellular balance, while good sleep gives your body and cells the time and energy they need to thrive. Unfortunately, sleeping problems are common for adults. We’ll break down some simple reasons people sleep poorly and how it affects their health. We’ll also offer some everyday tips for sleeping better.

The Negative Effects of Poor Sleep

In the short-term, sleep deprivation affects our mood and makes us less alert, so we’re not as productive and more likely to make erratic decisions. In the long-term, chronic sleep problems contribute to numerous other physical health issues. It’s a huge problem today: an estimated 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders. [1] And over 65% of adults say they don’t get enough good sleep every week. [2]

Here’s a closer look at 3 of the major negative health effects associated with chronic sleep problems:

Inflammation: Short-term sleep loss makes it harder to balance our body’s natural inflammatory response, leading to increased inflammation. Elevated levels of inflammation are commonly found in people who sleep for longer periods of time than is recommended. This highlights the fact that both too little and too much sleep may cause inflammation. [3,4] To learn more about inflammation and how light impacts it, check out this article.

Weight gain: Poor sleep can knock your body and cells out of balance, and that alone can lead to complications with digestion, metabolism, and weight. The stomach and other key internal organs work best when our eating aligns with our circadian rhythm. Following a routine, or schedule, with your eating and your sleep allows your body to operate along the same patterns, which is more efficient for your digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall metabolism. Limiting your food intake to a specific window of time is also ideal. [5] To learn more about red light therapy and weight gain, check out this article.

Worse mental acuity: There’s a general consensus among experts that lack of sleep leads to slower response times, decreased alertness, and less reliable judgement & performance. Recent research suggests sleep deprivation may especially affect cognitive functions that rely on emotional data. That makes sense to anyone who’s been tired and cranky due to lack of sleep. [6] Learn more about mental acuity and red light therapy here.

If you struggle to sleep and experience these problems, your daily light intake could be a big factor.

Light Plays a Major Role in Your Sleep Cycle

Sleep problems are all too familiar to millions of people. What many don’t realize is the central role that light plays in our sleep cycle. Additionally, some types of light are better and worse for healthy sleep and circadian rhythm. 

The brain interprets light as a sign of when to be asleep and awake. Your circadian rhythm is designed around the sun, but the bright lights and screens of modern life can knock the body’s natural signals and rhythms out of whack.

Blue Light Disrupts Sleep and Circadian Rhythm: An overload of blue light can cause headaches and make it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep. [6] When we take in all that bright blue light from laptops, TVs, and phones—especially before we go to bed—our bodies get the signal that it's time to be awake, even if we're tired.

Light, cortisol, melatonin, and sleep: Hormones that regulate the sleep cycle are also directly affected by light. Cortisol, a steroid hormone, helps wake us up and keep us going. Cortisol levels tend to be highest in the mornings and lowest when we’re in our deepest sleep, typically around 3-4am. Bright artificial light’s stimulative effect on cortisol has been documented in clinical studies. [8]

Melatonin is a counterpart to cortisol that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. Your body usually starts producing melatonin in the early evening, when you’re starting to wind down and get closer to sleep. Bright light, especially bright blue light from phones and computers, has been shown to disrupt melatonin production. [9]

The bottom line is that the kind of light you’re exposed to closely affects your sleep hormones and your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep at the right times.

What’s the Best Time to Sleep? Follow Your Circadian Rhythm

Not all 7-8 hour chunks of sleep are created equal. In addition to sleep quality and quantity, timing is important too. For the most restful and regenerative sleep, it’s ideal to follow your circadian rhythm and tailor your sleep cycle to the natural light/dark cycle of the earth.

Circadian rhythms are naturally occurring processes that happen roughly every 24 hours, like the sleep cycle, digestion, and metabolism. Every living organism has circadian rhythms, and they’re more likely to be successful when they live in line with these biological patterns. [5]

Your circadian sleep rhythm is your internal clock, and it’s tied closely to the sun and the light you take in from your environment. It’s beneficial to follow your body’s natural patterns for sleeping and waking. Your digestion and internal organs can develop a routine for using fat, your body can process inflammation, and cells can repair & regenerate more efficiently when you sleep at a similar time every night, and wake up closer to when the sun rises. [5]

In the absence of technology like artificial lighting and screens, the human body will typically sync with the planet’s day/night cycle: rising with the sun and sleeping when it’s dark. We’ve come a long way from those origins, but our bodies are still designed to work with an abundance of light during the day, and restful sleep when it’s dark at night. If you sleep from 3am to 12pm every day, you may get enough sleep, but the quality of your sleep will likely not be as good. 

Check out these 7 useful sleep tips for more ideas on getting more ZZZZZ.

Red Light Therapy Promotes Quality Sleep

We’ve talked about how important light is for sleep, but you can’t always count on natural light. Our modern lives keep us inside much of the day, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate even when we can get outside. Joovv sessions are meant to supplement your light intake from the sun.

Joovv red light therapy treatments are designed to enhance cellular function, and support a balanced lifestyle with healthy light in the comfort of your own home.

Features like the Joovv Go’s red light alarm clock and Ambient mode are specifically designed to support your natural circadian rhythms and improve sleep quality. We’ll cover both later in this article as well.

What is red light therapy? Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or low level laser therapy (LLLT), is a simple, non-invasive treatment that uses LEDs to deliver wavelengths of red and near infrared (NIR) light directly to the skin and cells. This enhances cellular function by supplying the mitochondria with the light needed to make the ATP energy that powers your body. You can learn more about the science of red light therapy and how it works right here.

How Does Joovv Support Healthier Sleep?

We need light every day, but most people don’t get nearly enough. The average American spends over 90% of their time indoors, often surrounded by bright artificial light that can make it harder to sleep. [10] With a Joovv device in your home, you can ensure you’re always getting the healthy light your body and cells need to thrive, no matter the weather, time of year, or how much time you had to get outside during the day. 

Joovv isolates wavelengths of red and NIR light, because it’s been found to be the most beneficial for human health across a large body of research. This brings the same benefits as the natural red and NIR light from full-spectrum sunlight, without UV rays, excess heat, or the risks of overexposure to the sun.

You can learn more about how Joovv works on a cellular level on this page.

Joovv’s Sleep-Enhancing Features: Ambient Mode and Alarm Clock

Two features on Joovv devices were designed with sleep in mind. Ambient mode can help you fall asleep while the alarm clock feature will assist you in waking up peacefully.

Ambient mode allows you to use your Joovv as an all-purpose evening lighting solution, so you can make your home environment more conducive to a good night’s sleep. This sleep-friendly setting delivers lower intensity red light that’s perfect for nighttime use. We’re exposed to large amounts of blue light during the day, but the more you can cut back on that bright light at night, the better for your sleep and circadian rhythm. Spending time in the evenings in light with a lower color temperature and intensity is more relaxing, and can help you transition more naturally into your sleep.

The Joovv Go also includes a red light alarm clock that shines energizing light to help you wake up naturally. Rising with light is a much more balanced transition from sleeping to waking than being jolted out of bed by a beeping phone. Joovv devices, and their red and NIR wavelengths, have always been a good way to support better sleep and circadian rhythm. Now, with our innovative alarm clock function and Ambient mode features, Joovv is taking sleep optimization to a new level. 

You can see all of Joovv’s red light therapy products hereYou can also see more everyday tips for healthy sleep on this page.

Conclusion: Quality Sleep is Vital for a Balanced, Healthy Life

Sleep impacts every aspect of our health and is one of the main factors for how we feel and function when we’re awake. Ensuring you get enough quality sleep is one of the key ingredients to living a balanced life, and it should always be a priority. Help yourself sleep better by following healthy lifestyle habits, which include taking in natural light from the sun and using a Joovv device.

 

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Sources and References:

[1] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Association. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

[2] The State of Sleep Health in America.

[3]  Michael I., Richard O., Judith Carroll. “Sleep Disturbance, Sleep Duration, and Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies and Experimental Sleep Deprivation” Biological Psychiatry. 2016 July .

[4]  Janet M., Norah S., Hans M., Monika H. “Sleep Loss and Inflammation” Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2010 Oct.

[5] Book: Satchin Panda, PhD. The Circadian Code: lose weight, supercharge your energy, and transform your health from morning to midnight. Rodale Books. Jun 12, 2018 | ISBN 9781635652437

[6]  Killgore WD. “Effects of sleep deprivation on cognition” Progress in Brain Research. 2010

[7] Sheppard A and Wolffsohn J. “Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration.” BMJ Open Ophthalmology. 2018 April.

[8] Jung C, Khalsa S, et al. Acute Effects of Bright Light Exposure on Cortisol Levels. Journal of Biological Rhythms. 2010 Jun.

[9] Harvard Health. Blue light has a dark side.

[10] N E Klepeis, W C Nelson, et al. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. The Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology. 2001 June.