Cognitive Function, Endorphins, Sleep, Mood

Cognitive Function, Endorphins, Sleep, Mood

TLDR: The benefits of red light therapy are impressive and the team at High Tech Healing is here to share some of them with you. Read on to see what the research says about improved cognitive function, endorphin release, melatonin, sleep improvement, improving your mood, and even anxiety and depression.

Improved Cognitive Function

We would like to begin with one of our favorite benefits of red light therapy. We find it to be the most unique effect and also found it to be true after trying the technology ourselves, and are profoundly interested in this aspect of red light therapy. The hypothesis for this effect seems to be stimulation of cytochrome oxidase in neurons, increased blood flow to the brain, oxygen consumption, production of ATP, and improved cellular energy [19][20].

Red light therapy has been shown to improve cognitive function significantly in patients with brain trauma, as well as improve blood flow to the brain, memory retention, and overall quality of life [22][23][24][25]. These results have been replicated in healthy patients, improving cognitive function, as well as emotional dimensionality [26][27]. Researchers have indicated likely applications in the treatment of brain injury, improvement of general cognitive function, and emotional capacity, as well as aiding in neuropsychological rehabilitation.

Research has also shown the ability for red light therapy to augment treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by stopping or preventing neuron death [28].

Release of Beta Endorphins

Red light therapy is known to stimulate the release of what is known as beta endorphins, sometimes stylized β-endorphins. Simply put, these are the body’s in-house (endogenous) opioid pain killer, similar to morphine but up to 100 times more powerful [29][30].

Beta endorphins are known to have an analgesic effect by preventing the firing of sensory fibers, but the effects extend far beyond this pain control effect [29]. They are also known to have an impact on hearing, vision, and smell, as well as stress, inflammation in the brain, general mood, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders [31][32][33][34].

Several studies show the effectiveness of red light therapy in stimulating the release of beta endorphins and strongly conclude that there is an analgesic and behavioral effect associated [35][36][37].

One study we found shows blue light at wavelength 453nm producing increased levels of beta endorphins, and attributes the production of nitric oxide with this effect [38].

Blue light at 453 nm is not “red light therapy” but would fall under the broader description of photobiomodulation or light therapy. Though this wavelength differs from our red light therapy products, we also know from the previous sections that red light at 660 nm is known to increase nitric oxide production, leading us to the conclusion that both blue and red light have similar mechanisms of action for beta endorphin release.

Improved Sleep

One of the powerful benefits of red light therapy is the effect it has on sleep.

Research has shown that red light therapy can significantly improve sleep, blood samples revealing increased melatonin levels [39][40]. This release of melatonin is described as one of the primary components of red light therapy and is attributed to sleep and other incredible benefits of the technology [41].

Melatonin is a key aspect involved with sleep and the body’s circadian rhythm [42]. It is released near bedtime and continuously while you sleep. In the morning, levels decrease to help you wake up. Disruptions to the body’s circadian rhythm can negatively influence this process, and affect your sleep, leading to potentially severe health issues.

Improved Mood | Depression | Anxiety | Stress

Red light therapy has been reported to significantly boost one’s mood after use. This may be attributed to the release of endorphins, increased energy levels, and improved sleep.

Beta endorphins play a variety of roles in the body, and have a significant impact on our mood and behavior. They have been shown to increase in level due to surgical stress in patients. There is also an increase in levels in those who perform high-stress activities, such as skydiving, and the level of increase is directly correlated to one’s anxiety about the event [31].

These endorphins have also been linked to be a contributor to the sleep-wake cycle. [31]. It is also suggested to play a major role in depression and is linked to be involved in many behaviors, such as eating, sex, and motivation [32]. Fear and anxiety are also thought to be modulated by the body’s opioid system, of which the beta endorphin is a part [34].

Another benefit of red light therapy is its effect on sleep, as previously discussed. Sleep is incredibly important. As we all know, a single night of sleep can be incredibly disruptive and leave us functioning not at our best the next day.

Research supports this, and one study restricted subjects to just one hour of sleep for a single night. The participants were shown to have significantly altered friendly and aggression scores based on a self-rating scale [43]. Sleep deprivation is also known to affect our cognitive abilities [44][45].

In another study, six males and six females between the ages of 14 and 18 were tested for the effects of sleep deprivation on mood states of depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, vigor, and fatigue. They were observed for two days under normal conditions and reported mood by filling out a short form every two hours while awake. After a night of no sleep at all, mood significantly worsened for all participants in all categories. Interestingly, there were significant differences in the gender groups. Females were more susceptible to impacts to mood, with greater depressed mood and anxiety following sleep deprivation only witnessed among female participants. While both males and females reported more confusion following sleep deprivation, the magnitude of this effect was greater for females [46].

Shop Red Light Therapy Devices

At High Tech Healing, we offer a selection of red light therapy devices for businesses as well as devices for red light therapy at home. Shop our selection today and if you have any questions about red light therapy or our products, contact the High Tech Healing team today.

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