Sixteen patients with winter seasonal affective disorder and 13 healthy controls were exposed to 3300 lx of cool-white fluorescent light for either 1 hour or 15 min in the morning for 2 weeks during the winter. Subjective sleepiness, melatonin concentration in saliva, and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) concentration were measured before and after the 2-week trial as well as the following summer when the patients were well. There were no significant differences in the baseline values between the patients and healthy subjects. No significant differences in the outcome measures were observed in the patients or the controls in the two groups of each after the trial. The exposure to bright light resulted in a significant decrease in subjective sleepiness early in the evening in the patients but not in the control subjects. The reduction of depressive symptoms was associated with the decrease in subjective sleepiness but not with the changes in the melatonin or vitamin D concentrations.