How much sunlight do you get during the winter months?

How much sunlight do you get during the winter months?

Posted 14th Nov 2017

The winter months see us get an average of less than 10 hours of daylight a week, a study has found

A combination of shorter days and longer working hours will see us outside for an average of one hour and three minutes during a working day.

However, with the average adult only taking a 33-minute lunch break three times a week, 77 per cent will have days where they don't see any daylight at all.

Over three quarters have said they can even have occasions where they don't go outside at all from Monday to Friday.

This doesn't get much better at weekends either, with the average adult only getting two hours and four minutes of daylight per day.

The study by Healthspan found a lack of daylight will leave 56 per cent of us feeling more tired while four in ten are more inclined to be grumpy.

One in three have even said they could be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) due to spending little or no time outside.

Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist working with Healthspan, said: "Research has shown that our brains work differently at different times of the year."

"Being able to hold attention is best at the height of summer and worst in the depths of winter."

"However, memory is at its best during the autumn equinox when the length of day and night are about the same."

"These seasonal variations in brain function are related to the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin, which also affects mood."

"Therefore, lack of energy, feeling unmotivated and many of the symptoms people struggle with in winter can be linked to how the seasons affect our brain activity."

"A Danish study showed that people who work outdoors are somewhat protected from low mood associated with winter-time which highlights that even in winter it is important we go outside and engage in some sort of outdoors activity."

"We may dread winter, but If you continually tell yourself how horrible winter is, chances are it will feel grim."

"Try and change your internal monologue about this time of year by writing a new script – each morning use positive statements."

A study of 2,000 workers found that during the winter months, eight in ten will go to work in the dark, only to head home once the daylight has faded.

Almost six in ten even said they would take a lunch break for no other reason than to get a small glimpse of daylight, before heading inside for the rest of the day.

On top of this, 56 per cent said there are some weekends when they don't leave the house during the light of the day.

Yet this will leave many struggling with the 'long, dark days' with some saying they feel depressed, unwell, hungry and looking to binge on television and films.

Work will also suffer with the average adult starting to feel their mood - productivity will therefore start to drop at around 12:47pm.

Fifty-two per cent have said they find it hard to concentrate, and 37 per cent admit they will be more likely to get side-tracked. Workers also feel the need for more tea breaks, make more mistakes and struggle to follow meetings.

More than one in ten have even admitted to having a little snooze to try to boost their mood.

The survey, conducted by, further showed that, despite Public Health England recommending everyone takes 10mcg of vitamin D, over half don't bother to take the supplement.

20 per cent even admitted to taking extra care to stop themselves getting ill.

Dr Sarah Brewer, GP, said: "It’s worrying that so many people are not topping up their vitamin D during the cold months of the year."

"Vitamin D is vital for immunity, as well as for bones, and deficiency is one reason why some people experience frequent coughs, colds, respiratory infections and even asthma attacks at this time of year."

Dr Meg Arroll added: "It’s not all doom and gloom though – Christmas and NYE bring people together."

"Life can be go by incredibly quickly, so the festive period gives us a reason to put work to one side and see loved ones."

"Simple things such as all the festive lights and decorations, hot chocolate, snow and even warm baggy clothes can bring a little joy to life if we stop for a moment and appreciate them."

The top ten things that happen as a result of a lack of daylight

1 More tired/lethargic
2 More grumpy
3 Unmotivated
4 Depressed
5 Unfit
6 Pale
7 Unwell
8 Unable to function properly
9 Hungry
10 Trouble concentrating or difficulties with sustained attention

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