For many of us, leaving for work and returning home in the darkness is unavoidable during the winter months. But a mental health charity has warned today that the lack of daylight many Brits experience throughout the season could lead to potentially serious problems.
A poll 2,000 people by Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) found that three in 10 British adults go through the week without enjoying any daylight hours, and half believe their workplace is lacking in natural light. Almost one in ten said their workplace had no access to natural light at all.
And MHRUK has warned that going without daily sunlight can lead to lethargy, depression, and may even develop into seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Dr Laura Davidson, a trustee of MHRUK, told the Daily Mail: "It is estimated that one million working hours are lost each year due to SAD.
"The common unhealthy work culture where lunch breaks are frowned upon is a likely contributor to the increasing numbers of SAD sufferers."
Dr Davidson, a mental health barrister, added: "Employers and educational establishments need to take on board just how important natural light is to good mental health.
"They have a responsibility to ensure that work and study environments have sufficient windows to flood the building with as much natural light as possible."
In a bid to raise awareness of the risks of SAD and depression during the winter, the charity is launching the Blooming Monday campaign, where workers are encouraged to dress in bright colours on the third Monday of January - found by researchers to be the most depressing day of the year.
Do you suffer from seasonal affective disorder? Leave your comments below...