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Seeking a sunny vacation spot to escape to? Sunshine duration measures the total number of sunshine hours for the entire year, giving a general impression of how cloudy a city is. By that measure, Yuma, Arizona, is the sunniest place on Earth! If you visit, you have a 90% chance of being greeted by sunshine, no matter the season. Yuma’s location at the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers makes for lush, fertile soil — every season is growing season here. The area’s agricultural industry produces 90% of the nation’s lettuce and accounts for more than a third of the state’s annual agricultural earnings.
The top 10 sunniest cities in the world by annual sunshine hours are:
- Yuma, Arizona — 4,015.3
- Marsa Alam, Egypt — 3,958.0
- Calama, Chile — 3926.2
- Dakhla Oasis, Egypt — 3943.4
- Phoenix, Arizona — 3,871.6
- Keetmanshoop, Namibia — 3870
- Las Vegas, Nevada — 3,825.3
- Tuscon, Arizona — 3,806.0
- Kharga, Egypt — 3790.8
- El Paso, Texas — 3,762.5
The top 10 least sunny cities in the world by annual sunshine hours are:
- Totoró, Colombia — 637.0
- Tórshavn, Faroe Islands — 840
- Chongqing, China — 954.8
- Dikson, Russia — 1,164.3
- Malabo, Equatorial Guinea — 1,176.7
- Buenaventura, Colombia — 1178.0
- Lima, Peru — 1230
- Ushuaia, Argentina — 1281.2
- Reykjavik, Iceland — 1,326
- Bogotá, Colombia — 1328.0
When you think about Colombia, you might imagine sunny beaches, vibrant emerald waters, and lush forests, and in truth, many places in Colombia offer just that. However, the varied topography and mountainous nature of the country make for dynamic weather patterns. Colombia experiences two seasons — wet and dry. The wet season occurs from around April to November, and during this period, it is not uncommon for it to rain for hours everyday.
Where are the gloomiest, darkest winters? In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs in December. Here are the five least sunny places in December by average monthly sunshine hours:
- Dikson, Russia — 0.0
- Tórshavn, Faroe Islands — 6
- Yakutsk, Russia — 9.3
- Iqaluit, Canada — 12.6
- Moscow, Russia — 14
In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs in June. Here are the five least sunny places in June by average monthly sunshine hours:
- Valdivia, Chile — 45.0
- Totoró, Colombia — 47.0
- Ushuaia, Argentina — 50.3
- Lima, Peru — 50.6
- Stanley, Falkland Islands — 57
How Does Sunshine Duration Affect Sleep?
Exposure to sunshine is a key part of sleep hygiene. Light rays influence the brain’s biological timekeeper, which has been true since humans slept outside and would rise with the sun. In fact, light is one of the biggest external factors that influence sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends cocooning your bedroom in blackout curtains or blinds during the night to block artificial light and opening them to the sunshine when you are ready to begin the day.
In some areas of the world, such as Dikson, Russia, people can experience an entire month with no sunshine whatsoever. The absence of a typical day and night cycle can have significant affects on the sleep and wake cycle and studies have shown it can lead to symptoms such as insomnia, decreased total sleep time, decreased sleep quality and efficiency, and instability of the REM sleep stage.