Although bright light at the night often considered as a trigger of stress and sleep disorders. But for elderly, bright light can be used as a therapy to reduce symptoms of depression.
In addition to reduce depression or stress in elderly, bright light can also improve sleep patterns and increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that associated with a person’s ability to control stress.
This effect is revealed in research conducted by VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The experimental study involving 89 elderly people over 60 years, who were diagnosed with depression.
The participants were divided into two groups and get a different treatment. One group was received bright blue light therapy for 1 hour before dawn, while the other group received pda dim red light therapy at the same time.
The development of the participants’ condition was observed after 3 weeks undergone therapy. Symptoms of depression in the group that received bright light is reduced by 43 percent while the other group is only reduced 36 percent.
After the therapy is stopped, the researchers get back to observe the development of the participants again 3 weeks later. The result shows that symptoms of depression in the group receiving bright light improved 54 percent while the other group only 33 percent.
Previously, the effect of light to mental health has been studied at Ohio State University in 2009. But the research results on adult rats indicated opposite result, bright light even worsen the condition of the depressed rats.