Tips on Beating Winter Depression

When winter hits, as many as 40 million Americans get the blues.

Shorter days and less sunlight can throw off the body clock, affecting mood and sleep.

The official name for this winter depression is seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

When the winter months start, Leneva Spires wishes she could stay in bed.

She tried sleeping longer and drinking more coffee, but her fatigue and depression just got worse.

Most experts believe light therapy is the best treatment, but it must be used as soon as you get up.

"The first week or two you might have to sit in front of the light fixture for two hours. Once you respond, you can cut down the duration to as short as 15 minutes,” explains Dr. Al Lewy, Oregon Health and Science University.

The light rays boost brain chemicals and make your body realize it is time to wake up.

The second best option is the hormone, melatonin.

In a recent study, it improved depression symptoms by 30 percent.

Lewy says take low doses of melatonin in the afternoon to feel better in the morning.

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