UK’s happiest and unhappiest towns unveiled - and it’s all to do with the weather

By Isabella Boneham
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:17 pm
Chichester in UK
Chichester in UK

A list of the happiest and unhappiest towns in the UK has been unveiled, and it is all based on how much sunshine those places get.

Researchers looked at places in the UK that have the most sunlight during the winter months to determine which town is the happiest.

Sunlight triggers the hormone serotonin to be released to your brain, helping to fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the ‘winter blues’.

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Based on the total hours of sun, Chichester in West Sussex is crowned the happiest place in the UK with 232 sunny hours in winter. Whereas the least sunny place is Bradford in West Yorkshire, seeing only 110 hours of sunlight during the cold season.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It is caused by short, dark days during the winter months and around two million people in the UK are affected by SAD.

Two-fifths of UK adults feel more depressed due to dark nights.

Studies show that neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can help to regulate a person’s mental health and aid in calming and focusing you.

So, Brits are more likely to avoid the winter blues in sunnier places.

SAD affects not only your energy levels but “your sleep and day-to-day life,” explained Neil Wright, a sleep expert at Beds Divans, which commissioned the research.

He said: “People with SAD often feel excessively sleepy during the day and typically sleep longer than usual at night.

“Without healthy sleep, you’re more likely to struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety."

Here are the sunniest places to live in the UK

The list was compiled using Met Office weather data to compare the amount of sunlight hours in each town and city.

Chichester - 232 sunlight hours in winter

Hastings - 227

St Helens - 227

Eastbourne - 222

Southend-on-Sea - 216

Poole - 216

Brighton - 215

Ipswich - 214

Peterborough - 214

Bournemouth - 212

Here are the least sunniest places to live

Bradford - 110 sunlight hours in winter

Barnsley - 110

Rochdale - 125

Glasgow - 137

Paisley - 140

Belfast - 141

York - 145

Gateshead - 146

Preston -147

Sevenoaks - 154

What is the sunniest region in the UK?

The study found that the South East is the sunniest region in the UK, with 8 cities and towns from that region getting the most hours of natural sunlight.

Yorkshire and the East and West Midlands are the least sunniest regions in the UK, as only 1 place from each region makes it into the list.

How you can cope with SAD and seasonal fatigue

Mr Wright offers his advice to those wanting tips on how to cope with SAD.

He said: "A greater focus on self-care may be beneficial. Getting outdoors, exercising regularly, eating energy-boosting foods, and socialising can reduce the onset of SAD symptoms.

“An abrupt change in your bedtime can do harm to your mental and physical health.”

He added: “If you choose to go to bed earlier over the winter months, we recommend you adjust your bedtime by 1 hour each day until you reach your intended sleep schedule.

“This way there’s far more chance of getting a good night’s sleep.”

“The change in daylight hours can result in people losing their routines. People may begin to sleep in which can affect how you function throughout the day and your sleep schedule.

“To keep in sync, you should stick to a routine and resume getting up early despite how dark it is. This will help you stay tired at normal times and overall give you a better night’s sleep.”

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com