Kentuckians who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are probably familiar with bright light therapy. Light is used to treat depression and lassitude brought on by the shortened daylight hours that characterize winter.
Research reported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates that the same type of light therapy may be valuable in helping people recover after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). About half of people who suffer a TBI develop some kind of sleep disturbance. Sleep is critical to brain plasticity—the ability of the brain to change as a result of experience.
The Research Study
A group of 18 people was included in the research, who had suffered at least one mild TBI and had sleep problems that either began with or were exacerbated by the most recent injury. After six weeks of morning bright light therapy, the researchers noted the following results in the study participants:
- A marked decrease in daytime sleepiness
- Improvements in the ability to fall asleep at night
- Better quality of nighttime sleep
- Reduced depression
- Changes in brain activation during demanding cognitive tasks
“Improving sleep following mild traumatic brain injury could prove critical to maximizing recovery from the injury,” said Mareen Weber, Ph.D., an instructor in psychiatry at McLean Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. “Furthermore, bright light therapy is easy and minimally invasive, requiring no medication, and has no known serious side effects,” she said.
An experienced Louisville brain injury lawyer can help you get compensation when someone has caused you or your loved one a brain injury in Kentucky. Call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll-free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.