December 21: The Shortest Day of The Year


Although Friday 21 December is the shortest day of the year, it also marks the transition to days of more daylight. And daylight creates life and is beneficial for our health, explains daylight expert.

Christmas is not the only happy event that will soon be upon us. From 21 December, we gain more daylight with every passing day, and, according to daylight expert, Per Arnold Andersen of the VELUX Group's Knowledge centre for daylight, energy and indoor climate, this is valuable for our well-being and health.

"From today and until the next solstice, we will be spending more and more time in daylight – both inside our homes and outdoors. Daylight is beneficial for humans in a number of ways; one thing daylight does is brighten our minds, making us less prone to depression. But increased exposure to daylight also helps to manage our "internal clock", which is important for our circadian rhythm," Per Arnold Andersen explains, adding:

"Last, but not least, daylight boosts our immune system and our general energy level, benefitting our health directly in all kinds of ways."

"Let in the daylight and the fresh air"
But although the longest nights and shortest days are on the wane, it will be a while yet before the long, bright summer days are with us again. Meanwhile, there are things we can do to maximise the beneficial effects of limited daylight, even though most of the winter is spent indoors.

"We spend around 90% of our time indoors in buildings that in many cases provide a insufficient and unhealthy indoor climate, where daylight and fresh air are in short supply. But we can do something about that by remembering to air our homes regularly, drawing back the curtains and letting the sun in as often as possible," says Per Arnold Andersen.

The winter solstice occurs on Friday 21 December.

About the shortest day of the year
The shortest day of the year, more formally known as the winter solstice, is the day of the year on which the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.

Since time immemorial, Northern Hemisphere cultures have celebrated the return of daylight with rituals, festivals and holidays around the time of the winter solstice.