The health risks of lack of sunlight

The sun's refusal to appear can have a big impact on our moods. [Photo: Getty]
The sun's refusal to appear can have a big impact on our moods. [Photo: Getty]

It’s pretty demoralising to look at the weather app and see nothing but rain. It’s even harder to look out of the window come 3pm to see the dark setting in.

A new study has found that 1 in 2 London office workers only see the sunlight for a maximum of 30 minutes per day in the winter. Two thirds of those surveyed admit they only see it for a maximum of an hour.

The research, by Sol, surveyed 2,001 people about how often they see sunlight.

With this type of research coming to light, it’s no wonder so many of us feel the affects of the winter blues.

READ MORE: Turn on more lights to keep warm, research suggests

What happens when we don’t get enough sun, though? We’re told time and time again about the detrimental impact the sun can have on our skin, but it’s also an essential source of vitamin D.

1 in 5 people in the UK suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. One of the problems associated with this deficiency is depression.

Therapist, Christine Elvin, sees a marked increase in the number of people coming to her for seasonal related issues come Autumn.

“Seasonal depression is linked to a vitamin D deficiency. The NHS recommends that we all take vitamin D supplements in the winter because it’s not that easy to get it from food.”

“Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common than you might think and although you might not be able to keep the impact entirely at bay with vitamin D, it’s a good place to start.”

READ MORE: The most common mental health issues, and where to get help

Depression isn’t the only issue impacted by lack of sunlight. Weak bones, certain cancers, skin problems, weight gain and cognitive brain functions are all side-effects of it, too.

The first signs of problems associated with lack of sunlight include:

  • Tiredness

  • Frequent illness

  • Low mood

  • Hair loss

  • Muscle pain

If all else fails, many experts recommend planning your holidays in the winter to seek out winter sun. With cheaper flights and quieter beaches, now might be the ideal time to get booking.

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