Britons turn to TV to beat the winter blues – yet getting more daylight holds the key

18th January 2015

Home-loving Britons say that cosying up in front of the TV is their perfect antidote to winter, yet surprisingly this may be one of the reasons why many of us feel down or demotivated over the winter period.

A recent survey showed that almost six out of ten (58 per cent) of the 2,000 adults questioned said they think sitting in front of the TV makes them feel better in winter, making it the most popular way to fight the ‘winter blues’. Reading books (37 per cent) and planning or making improvements to our homes (26 per cent) were also popular ways of escaping the winter.

A woman in a conservatory looking out over the snowy garden

However, it is the lack of natural daylight in the winter that increases the level of melatonin in our bodies, a sleep-inducing hormone, leaving us feeling tired and demotivated. Increasing the amount of natural light we’re exposed to, by going outside for a walk or simply sitting by a window at home or work, will therefore usually provide a welcome boost for our mood and motivation levels at this time of year.

The latest findings from the Anglian Home Improvements survey coincide with ‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday in January – which is dubbed the most depressing day of the year due to factors such as high credit card bills from Christmas, low motivation levels and dreary weather conditions.

Around three quarters (72 per cent) of those surveyed said they feel the reduction in daylight over the winter months has a negative impact on their mood, while two thirds (66 per cent) say it leaves them feeling less motivated.

The survey revealed the wide range of tactics people use to get them through the dark days of winter, from booking a holiday (28 per cent) to simple pleasures such as watching the birds from a window (21 per cent) or looking at the stars on crisp, clear evenings (21 per cent).

Top 10 things Brits do to make themselves feel better in winter:

  1. Cosy up in front of the TV (58 per cent)
  2. Read books (37 per cent)
  3. Go for walks (33 per cent)
  4. Book a holiday (28 per cent)
  5. Re-decorate/ plan home improvements (26 per cent)
  6. Sit by the fire (24 per cent)
  7. Watch the birds from a window (21 per cent)
  8. Look at the stars on a crisp night (21 per cent)
  9. Plan my garden planting for the next season (12 per cent)
  10. Sit by a window (10 per cent)

Source: Anglian Home Improvements

Melanie McDonald, Head of PR & Brand Marketing at Anglian Home Improvements, says, “It’s fascinating to see the many different methods people adopt in winter to help keep their spirits up, from updating their homes to going for walks or watching the birds in the garden. According to the survey findings, only 10 per cent of us currently sit by a window in the winter to help ourselves feel better, yet doing this – at work or at home – is a quick and easy way that most of us can instantly feel better, completely free of charge. With windows and conservatories being so much more energy efficient these days too, you can – and should – be just as comfortable sitting next to a window or in a conservatory in winter as anywhere else in the house.”

To view the Anglian Home Improvements infographic outlining the winter blues survey results, visit


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