Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update on Winter Depression and Melatonin and Lights

Two years ago I wrote about using low dose melatonin to help chase the winter blues. (See that post here.) There is a bit of an art to this method. Someone told me that you are supposed to use the melatonin for a few weeks in the autumn and then stop. I looked for a reference to cite on this, but found none. However, it made sense to me, so I decided to try it this year.

Starting in early November, I took about 3 drops of liquid 25 mg. melatonin in a glass of water (also tried under the tongue, which seemed to be fine, too) once a day for about 3 weeks. Research shows that there are two times of the day it will work. For most people, the dose is to be taken in the early afternoon. For others (that's me), it is taken in the morning. I would get up at 7:00 and take the melatonin at 9:00.

I did nothing else until early January when the light was beginning to increase a tad. At that time, I started getting a bit of brain fog, so I purchased a 10,000 lumen light and began sitting with it for 15 minutes in the morning. It has worked very well. I notice that my brain goes into a bit of hibernation if I miss a few days running, but otherwise, the brain is working well. BYW, I have tried using lights without melatonin in past years, but it didn't seem to be enough. And the article cited below says that melatonin alone may not be enough either.

To get more information, read the short summary on the NIMH website: posted in May 2006 Summary from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

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