Have you considered a happy light approach?
I have wrestled with seasonal winter depression for the past several years, but didn’t do anything about it, until this year when winter hit and combined with full swing menopause, it was just too much! So I began searching for something that would help pull me out of this funk! (I didn’t want to go to the doctor, because I knew they would want to prescribe an anti-depressant and I didn’t want that).
I am happy to report I bought a happy light. I researched them heavily and found the verilux had 97% thumbs up ratings, so I bought it on Amazon for $115 and have been using it twice daily every since. I have noticed a huge difference in less than a week! My cheerful attitude is returning and I no longer feel flat lined mentally/emotionally and I no longer have to push myself to get things done.
And in reading about the light, it can also help with RESETTING SLEEP CYCLES by reprogramming your brain to sleep at night and wake up during the day. By doing the very bright light first thing in the morning, a medium bright light in the afternoon, and then dimming the lights in the evening to help your body recognize when to sleep.
Here is how it works: The hypothalamus is responsible for shutting down the brain’s arousal signals and causing the transition to sleep. The hypothalamus, a peanut-sized structure deep inside the brain, contains groups of nerve cells that act as control centers affecting sleep and arousal. Within the hypothalamus is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) – clusters of thousands of cells that receive information about light exposure directly from the eyes and control your behavioral rhythm. Some people with damage to the SCN sleep erratically throughout the day because they are not able to match their circadian rhythms with the light-dark cycle. Most blind people maintain some ability to sense light and are able to modify their sleep/wake cycle. For more on Brain basics and understanding sleep go here.
I love my new “happy Light” and am so glad I found a healthy alternative to my winter blues (with a side affect of rising earlier without difficulty now). Although I have never had difficulty sleeping (unless it was too much), I know a lot of people do! So I shared that part about the light as well. I must say since using the light, I have gotten up earlier in the morning without as much difficulty feeling awake in the morning as I used to (it used to take me a half hour after waking to feel fully functional). Now I feel awake upon rising. So I love the light for that reason too!
Cheers to your health,