Unlocking the Potential of Red-Light Therapy for Sleep Optimization

Unlocking the Potential of Red-Light Therapy for Sleep Optimization

Let’s face it, we could all do with getting a better night’s sleep! Waking up groggy and unrested is now the norm, due to our constant switched-on lives. However, many of us are not sure of the environment we need to create around us to ensure optimal sleep health. In this blog, I will discuss how light (especially red light) is transformative to optimize sleep quality and run through many cases where this has been proven. If you are looking to truly revitalize your bedtime routine for the perfect sleep schedule, read on to find out about our highly progressive red light panel that won’t disappoint.

 

Why should we be concerned with our sleep quality?

Poor quality sleep can be detrimental to all of us. Over 65% of adults say they don’t get enough good sleep every week, and it’s time to fix this! Having good quality sleep keeps us healthy and is extremely restorative.

Some effects of sleep deprivation include:

  • reduced mental acuity
  • inflammation
  • possible weight gain

Clearly, this is not ideal. However, there are long-term effects of sustained sleep deprivation that are even more worrisome, including an increase in the risk of developing a serious medical condition. This all sounds scary, but there is a road to recovery that can ensure healthy sleeping habits! Let’s look at the crucial effects that light can have…

 

How can light affect our sleep cycle?

Light is incredibly important to our sleep cycle and can affect our circadian rhythm[1]. This is the 24-hour internal clock in our brain, that regulates our sleep cycle by responding to light changes in our environment. The 21st century is an age of technology, and exposure to constant bright lights can seriously impact our circadian rhythm. Blue light is key as it signals us to be awake, therefore it is important in the morning.

Light also impacts our sleep-regulating hormones. We need cortisol, a steroid hormone, in the morning to wake us up. So, cortisol levels are high in the morning, and low in the evening. An absence of light causes the secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland. This is vital to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. However, the bright light from our devices can disrupt melatonin production, sending the wrong signals to the brain and interfering with our circadian rhythm.

Essentially, working late on our laptops or scrolling through TikTok before bed can disrupt our sleep pattern and lead to an unsettled sleep. 

What light optimizes sleep?

Red light! Red light has no negative effect on melatonin levels or the circadian rhythm. It may even have a positive effect! Red light is one to watch out for, and there are constant developments in science that consistently praise its high potential for sleep health. Studies from healthy individuals provide important data on this topic. From studies performed by Figuerio[2] in 2015 on shift workers, it was concluded that red light did not suppress melatonin levels. What’s more, red light improved alertness and would be a great tool for night workers without affecting the circadian rhythm.

Another study at the Chinese Institute of Sport Science in 2019[3] looked at the effect of red light on sleep quality and endurance performance of female basketball players. Half of the participants received thirty minutes of full-body red light irradiation every night for fourteen days from a red-light therapy bed, whereas the other half received a sham treatment (no red light). The results showed that red light had better improvement in sleep quality and serum melatonin levels than the placebo group, proving the effectiveness of red light in improving sleep quality in healthy individuals. This is exactly what our LED Light Therapy Panel promotes, with lower-intensity red light to ensure maximum relaxation and a speedy transition into sleep.

 Maysama Panel

Red light therapy for sleep issues:

Evidence suggests that red light therapy can improve sleep quality in all individuals, from healthy people to people struggling with insomnia or other chronic sleep issues. A recent clinical trial in 2023 by Kennedy[4] involved adults who reported trouble sleeping but no sleep disorder. This trial looked at the effects of red and NIR light exposure before bed on sleep and next day function, with a sham group for comparison. Participants in the group reported improved sleep and perceived improvements in relaxation and mood, unlike the sham group. Though sham light did provide a psychological benefit for sleeping, it is a positive outcome for the effects of red light on sleep.

 

Insomnia:

Insomnia is when a person has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This can be short term or chronic and can make your waking life extremely difficult. A clinical trial by Chen in Taiwan in 2010[5] used laser acupuncture to explore LLLT (Low-level laser therapy). It was concluded that for chronic insomnia, LLLT shortened the sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep), decreased the number of night awakenings, and improved overall sleep efficiency. Red light could therefore be an important breakthrough for future studies on insomnia! 

 

Restless leg syndrome:

This is a condition which causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an urge to move them. A randomized 4-week trial[6] in 2010 investigated the effects of red and near-infrared light on this. This study determined that after just four weeks the treatment group had much greater improvement in symptoms than the control group, and the improvement continued. Red light proves once again to have many talents!

 Red light therapy for insomnia

Sleep Bruxism:

This is where a person grinds their teeth. A 2021 trial[7] was carried out in children using laser therapy over acupuncture points which showed that children with Sleep Bruxism responded very well to photo biomodulation therapy (red light therapy), as there was a reduction in bite force and reduced reports of headache.

 

Anxiety Disorders:

Using PBM with NIR is an experimental and non-invasive treatment for anxiety disorders. Evidence suggests a potential anxiolytic effect of transcranial NIR. A 2019 clinical trial in Maiello[8] resulted in a significant anxiety reduction, as well as strong improvements in sleep!

 

Migraines:

Red light therapy has also been proven to successfully improve sleep quality through the treatment of migraines. Data from a study[9] in 2023 showed that insomnia scale symptom scores greatly improved after the treatment where intravascular PBM was studied.

 

Alzheimer’s:

Now this one is interesting. Sleep proves to be a sensitive biomarker that allows for early detection and intervention of Alzheimer’s! A randomized study in Zhao, China[10], aimed to test whether PBM therapy targeting the frontal cortex (associated with sleep disruption and cognitive decline) could improve sleep and cognitive function. All participants received either red light or sham light therapy for 6 days. After five days of PBM therapy targeting the prefrontal cortex, sleep efficiency and cognitive performance were improved on the fifth day. Pretty impressive!

Thus, transcranial brain photo biomodulation (red light) therapy can increase frontal cortex-mediated memory function and enhance frontal cortex oxygen consumption.

 

What about Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Here, sleep quality was assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index[11] (PSQI). Intravenous Laser Irradiation of Blood (ILIB) has been used for pain management for patients with musculoskeletal disease. However, patients also experienced better sleep quality due to their pain relief! 

 

An interesting case study…

There is a highly enlightening case study[12] in 2022 on a 48-year-old patient who contracted the rare Guillain Barre Syndrome after her COVID-19 vaccine. This is a serious condition, affecting the nerves and limbs, causing numbness and pain. Sleep disturbance is commonly associated with this, due to persistent discomfort. After intravascular laser irradiation, there was a significant improvement in overall sleep quality.

 

Brain Diseases:

An innovative review[13] was published in 2023 exploring how PBM can improve sleep. This indicated that a reason why patients experienced improved sleep with red light therapy is that it stimulates the Brain Waste Removal System (BWRS). Removal of wastes and toxins from the central nervous system is a crucial function of the sleeping brain. Night stimulation of the BWRS is beginning to be a developed strategy for neuro-rehabilitation medicine! Therefore, Photo biomodulation of the BWRS during deep sleep is a breakthrough technology for the removal of waste from the brain. This can both increase neuroprotection of the central nervous system and prevent or delay various brain diseases. This proves how vital PBM will be both now, and in the future to treat or prevent a plethora of issues. Better sleep quality is just the beginning of this research!

 

Conclusions:

Overall, red light therapy is proving to be an innovative treatment for sleep optimization. The cases studied above support that red light can help optimize  sleep quality in healthy individuals, as well improve sleep quality in patients suffering with  insomnia, which may be related to anxiety, migraines, persistent pain or indeed, other chronic medical conditions. Aside from this, red and near infra red light has a positive effect on our circadian rhythm, increasing alertness and improving  productivity! Pioneering studies prove red light to be transformative for the health of our Central Nervous System, so the benefits of red-light therapy are extremely well-rounded.  In medical circles, we have seen a plethora of LED devices from red light therapy beds, near infrared vests, red light panels and goggles, as well as varying methods of application from intravenous and transcranial red light therapy to superficial irradiation.

The good news is that, with the advent of more light-weight, portable LED therapy devices, we can now take advantage of the science of photobiomodulation in our own homes. If you are looking for a high-performance, affordable, light-weight red light therapy device to help optimise sleep quality, you need look no further than Maysama’s Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel.

Red Light Therapy Panel

 

Maysama’s Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel:

As mentioned, sleep deprivation is a burden to most of us, and we should all be trying to get a better night’s sleep for our mental and physical well-being. Maysama’s Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel provides all the benefits of red-light therapy, from sleep optimization to improving wakefulness, as well as other applications from skin rejuvenation to pain relief and muscle recovery. Our modernistic panel delivers over 200mw/cm2 of red and near-infrared light irradiation.

What’s more, there is evidence to suggest that dimming lights beyond the natural time of sunset can help prepare our body for the onset of sleep. Maysama’s LED panel incorporates an ambient button to reduce light intensity, so you can dim light down to 75%, 50% or 25% of its intensity. This is perfect for night-time use and a simple element to embed into your evening routine! We recommend you use your panel to optimize your sleep in the evening, up to 2 hours before bed.

To improve sleep quality, low dosing is advisable. Overall, 10 minutes at 50% ambience 2-4 hours before bed is a low-maintenance, relaxing way to reap the benefits of red light before bed. However, if you already own a red light device and are using it for skin rejuvenation, we advise avoiding using the bright light too close before bedtime! As an alternative, consider reducing the light intensity, as even the 50% setting triggers skin rejuvenation benefits.

The multiple settings of Maysama’s Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel allows for the ultimate personalized experience. If you want to maximize your sleep and revitalize your skin, check out Maysama’s Pulse 40 Panel to optimize your health!

 

 

SHOP THE EDIT
Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel
 
Pulse40 LED Light Therapy Panel

 

 

Works Cited

[1] Ho Mien, Ivan, et al. “Effects of Exposure to Intermittent versus Continuous Red Light on Human Circadian Rhythms, Melatonin Suppression, and Pupillary Constriction.” PLoS ONE, edited by Henrik Oster, vol. 9, no. 5, May 2014, p. e96532, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0096532. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

[2] Figueiro, Mariana G., et al. “Light at Night and Measures of Alertness and Performance.” Biological Research for Nursing, vol. 18, no. 1, Feb. 2015, pp. 90–100, https://doi.org/10.1177/1099800415572873. Accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

[3] Zhao, Jiexiu, et al. “Red Light and the Sleep Quality and Endurance Performance of Chinese Female Basketball Players.” Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 47, no. 6, Nov. 2012, pp. 673–78, https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-47.6.08.

[4] Kathryn E.R. Kennedy, et al. “A Randomized, Sham-Controlled Trial of a Novel Near-Infrared Phototherapy Device on Sleep and Daytime Function.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 19, no. 9, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sept. 2023, pp. 1669–75, https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.10648. Accessed 5 Feb. 2024.

[5] Chen, Chih-Kuang, et al. “Effectiveness of Laser Acupuncture in Alleviating Chronic Insomnia: A Single-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2019, June 2019, pp. 1–9, https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8136967.

[6] Mitchell, Ulrike H., et al. “Comparison of Two Infrared Devices in Their Effectiveness in Reducing Symptoms Associated with RLS.” Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, vol. 27, no. 5, Informa, Oct. 2010, pp. 352–59, https://doi.org/10.3109/09593985.2010.502210.

[7] Salgueiro, Monica da Consolação Canuto, et al. “Effect of Photobiomodulation on Salivary Cortisol, Masticatory Muscle Strength, and Clinical Signs in Children with Sleep Bruxism: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery, vol. 39, no. 1, Jan. 2021, pp. 23–29, https://doi.org/10.1089/photob.2019.4778. Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.

[8] Maiello, Marco, et al. “Transcranial Photobiomodulation with Near-Infrared Light for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Pilot Study.” Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery, vol. 37, no. 10, Oct. 2019, pp. 644–50, https://doi.org/10.1089/photob.2019.4677. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020.

[9] Chen, Hsin-Hung, et al. “Intravascular Laser Irradiation of Blood as Novel Migraine Treatment: An Observational Study.” European Journal of Medical Research, vol. 28, no. 1, BioMed Central, Oct. 2023, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40001-023-01438-3. Accessed 5 Feb. 2024.

[10] Zhao, Xing, et al. “Brain Photobiomodulation Improves Sleep Quality in Subjective Cognitive Decline: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled Study.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Apr. 2022, pp. 1–9, https://doi.org/10.3233/jad-215715. Accessed 7 June 2022.

[11] Fu, Jimmy Chun-Ming, et al. “The Adjuvant Therapy of Intravenous Laser Irradiation of Blood (ILIB) on Pain and Sleep Disturbance of Musculoskeletal Disorders.” Journal of Personalized Medicine, vol. 12, no. 8, Aug. 2022, p. 1333, https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12081333. Accessed 14 Oct. 2023.

[12] Chang, Yuan-Ling, and Shin-Tsu Chang. “The Effects of Intravascular Photobiomodulation on Sleep Disturbance Caused by Guillain-Barré Syndrome after Astrazeneca Vaccine Inoculation.” Medicine, vol. 101, no. 6, Wolters Kluwer, Feb. 2022, pp. e28758–58, https://doi.org/10.1097/md.0000000000028758.

[13] Oxana Semyachkina-Glushkovskaya, et al. “Brain Waste Removal System and Sleep: Photobiomodulation as an Innovative Strategy for Night Therapy of Brain Diseases.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 24, no. 4, MDPI, Feb. 2023, pp. 3221–21, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043221. Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

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