Winter is bad for your health, appearance – and your sex life, a study has found.
A poll of 2,000 adults found the cold and dark winter months result in an increase in illnesses, a lower mood and an overall lack of motivation.
But millions also see their sex life suffer with almost one in twenty saying their libido nosedives during the winter.
Others also have less energy, struggle to wake up, have sore and achy joints and muscles and are more likely to consume unhealthy or sugary foods than in the summer months.
Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist on behalf of wellbeing brand Healthspan, which commissioned the research said: “This shows that many of us do feel down in the dumps when the weather turns colder and days get shorter.
“Some of this may be due to the lack of daylight and perceived unpleasantness of being out and about in the wind and rain.
“And of course, there are more coughs and colds during winter months which affect both how we feel physically and our mood.
“But the heartening aspect of this survey is that over a quarter of respondents state they take active steps to protect their health and wellbeing in winter.
“This is the key to good health as we may not be able to control the weather, but we can control how we think and feel and take action to improve our overall outlook.”
The study also found 46 per cent of Brits think winter is bad for their health and it really impacts on their appearance.
Forty-one per cent stated they are more affected by colds and flu during the winter months, while 31 per cent believe they suffer more from dry skin.
Three in 10 have less energy and feel more tired while 22 per cent believe they are more likely to gain weight than they are in the summer.
Almost six in 10 say their mood is generally lower in winter than at any other time of the year, with 66 per cent blaming the dark morning and evenings.
Another 64 per cent put their bad mood down to the cold weather while 17 per cent say it’s because they always feel ill.
It also emerged the nation’s health takes a hit in the winter with half saying they are more likely to be ill during the season than any other time of year with around two colds and two days off work from September to February.
To add to this, 47 per cent of Brits feel more motivated to exercise in the summer months, spending an average of four hours and 29 minutes in the gym. This drops to 3 hours and 20 minutes in the winter.
Researchers from OnePoll also found 52 per cent see their diet change as they mover into the winter months.
Almost two thirds turn to comfort food as the temperature drops, while 56 per cent eat less salad and 35 per cent consume more sugary treats. Others eat more fast food, less fruit and vegetables and drink less water.
But 27 per cent do take extra steps to safeguard their health and appearance during the winter months.
Half of those polled 50 per cent take health supplements and use extra moisturiser to combat dry skin, 33 per cent go to bed earlier and 23 per cent try to improve their diet.
Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan Medical Director said: “Diet should always come first, so focus on obtaining at least five-a-day fruit and veg for immune boosting vitamin C, plus two servings of oily fish per week for omega-3 and vitamin D.
“Clinical trials show that sucking zinc acetate lozenges significantly reduces symptoms of the common cold compared with placebo.
“Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal congestion by 37 per cent, scratchy throat by 33 per cent, hoarseness by 43 per cent and cough by 46 per cent.
“Sucking zinc acetate lozenges also shortened the duration of muscle aching by 54 per cent.
“Taking Zinc and Vitamin C tablets to prevent colds is also a popular strategy during winter months.”
Top 20 ways Brits suffer more in the winter than in the summer
2. Dry skin
3. Have less energy
4. More likely to be ill
5. Feeling demotivated
6. Struggle to wake up
7. Increased appetite for unhealthy foods
8. Weight gain
9. Feeling sad
10. Sore joints
11. Watch too much TV/screen time
12. Aching muscles
13. Feeling pale
14. Feeling unfit
15. Generally poor health
16. Poor sleep
17. A bad mood
18. Feeling lonely
19. Dry eyes
20. Dry hair
Top 10 reasons for a lower mood in winter
1. It’s dark
2. It’s cold
3. The days feel shorter
4. I can’t go outside for as long
5. I feel unfit
6. I feel ill
7. I’m always hungry
8. I struggle to sleep
9. I have less of a social life
10. I have bad skin