In this medical health video learn how to kick the winter blues.
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Jennifer Matthews: Gray skies, snow, rain ... It's enough to make anyone feel blue. When the winter months start, LeNeva Spires wishes she could stay in bed. LeNeva Spires: You sort of feel like you're half awake all day long. Jennifer Matthews: She tried sleeping longer and drinking more coffee, but her fatigue and depression just got worse. So she enrolled in a study using bright light therapy. Psychiatrist Al Lewy has studied winter depression for more than two decades. He says light therapy is the best treatment -- but it must be used as soon as you get up. Dr. Al Lewy: 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. Jennifer Matthews: The light rays boost brain chemicals and make your body realize it's time to wake up. The second-best option is the hormone melatonin. In a recent study, it improved depression symptoms by 30 percent. Dr. Lewy says take low doses of melatonin in the afternoon to feel better in the morning. Dr. Al Lewy: If you take a tiny little dose of melatonin in the afternoon it tricks the body clock into thinking its dark out, it's a chemical dark signal, and that advances or shifts earlier the time of dusk. Jennifer Matthews: LeNeva says the light therapy and melatonin have made this winter much more pleasant. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.