Why Mornings Feel Better After Valentine's Day

A triathlon coach once told me, "early training gets easier after Valentine's Day because that's when we start noticing the mornings getting lighter again".

He's right.  Early morning trips to the pool are much easier after 14th February.  But why?

The Winter Solstice falls between 21 and 22 December in the Northern Hemisphere.  It's also known and "midwinter" or the "shortest day".

For a moment let's ignore the meteorological and other definitions of winter.  In terms of daylight, we feel the lack of it when the clocks "Fall Back" at the end of October (28th Oct in 2018).  Now let's do some simple maths.

The number of days between the clocks going back and Midwinter in 2018 was 54 days.  What comes 54 days after Midwinter?  Valentine's Day.

Daylight Saving is significantly asymmetrical around Midwinter, with the "Spring forward" happening around 100 days after the 21st Dec.  Quite why this happens, I'm not sure.  One explanation I've heard is to do with matching temperatures, but that seems unlikely.  In 2008 there was an Early Day Motion in the Westminster Parliament aimed at reducing this asymmetry, but like most EDMs it got nowhere.  Maybe the idea of starting "summer" time in February, with snow on the ground, just seemed daft.

I'm just pleased the lighter mornings are starting once again.

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