If there’s one thing that makes us all take notice of the oncoming winter, it’s those ever shorter days and longer nights. And today marks the winter solstice, officially the shortest day of the year.
For daylight, that is.
Winter solstice is marked as the exact time the Northern Hemisphere tilts the furthest distance from the sun, meaning that we’ll have the least amount of daylight today compared to any other day in the year, and the longest hours of darkness. Interest is unusually high in the winter solstice this year, as records suggest that it could be one of the mildest 22 December’s we have ever had in the UK.
Winter solstice also traditionally marks the beginning of winter, and today saw thousands of people gather at Stonehenge to witness the special sunrise.
Why Do People Celebrate the Winter Solstice?
According to reports, a crowd of almost 5000 people travelled to the historic Wiltshire landmark to witness the sun as its lowest point in the sky. People from the Druid and Pagan religions travel to the site as part of their spiritual traditions, considering it a significant landmark because of its alignment with the sun on this day. Celebrations are carried out to mark the return of longer days, seen as bringing hope and renewal. Longer days with more sunshine can also bring health benefits – one more reason to celebrate!
How Can Daylight Benefit Your Health?
Our bodies require a decent amount of light at the right times of day to help our internal clock stay balanced. In the morning, the sunrise helps us to wake up and feel alert, and at night the darkness acts as a cue for our bodies to rest. For some people, the lack of natural light throughout winter can actually lead to a condition known as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. Reduced exposure to sunlight causes a lowering of mood in sufferers of SAD and can also affect sleeping patterns.
However, there are products available to help counter the negative effects of the lack of light in winter. This SAD Therapy Light is designed to improve physical and mental well-being through the winter months, with blue spectrum light tubes to simulate natural daylight. Medically approved and portable, it’s perfect for use at home and does not cause spotting in the eyes. With variable light brightness settings, the SAD Therapy Light is a great treatment for the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Check out CareCo’s complete range of living aids by following the link.
There’s one thing we know for sure: the winter solstice might mean the official beginning of winter, but at least that means longer days are on the way!