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How the Midnight Sun Affects Sleep

29

Ever dream of having more time in the day? How about living where the sun never descends below the horizon line for months at a time? Just north of the Arctic circle these places exist and they are associated with the premonitory name, Midnight Sun–a natural phenomenon that occurs during summer. The sunlight continues to illuminate at midnight. So, as the sun continues to shine, the only dividing mark between day and night is the clock on your phone or watch.

How it Works
The Arctic circle is comprised of:
- Norway
- Finland
- Alaska
- Sweden
- Canada
- Russia

While the earth is circling the sun, every half rotation is either exposed to the sun rising or setting. Since the earth spins on a tilt and it is titled towards the sun, everything in the arctic circle–North Pole– is exposed to this great light source during the summer months. Essentially, these areas spin in place. Sunrises and sunsets make up our days and nights. They are responsible for the sleeping patterns and seasons, and our lives our ruled by these cycles. So, when a few months out of the year the sun sticks around and transcends the idea of time, our internal clocks are jolted.

Locals who must maintain regimented schedules due to work or school choose to use blackout curtains to obstruct the light. The melatonin levels raise when blanketed in a dark setting. The locals or visitors seeking sleep are advised to ward off any sunlight early into the evening hours by cloaking the day with dark shades or eye masks. This unique lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but most people who live in these parts either embrace it or know how to cope with the incessant light.

In Greenland, a big part of the lifestyle is nature, so seeking out ideal conditions to see the midnight sun is popular during this time of year. The sunlight floats along the horizon line never fulling dipping out of view. It can be a beautiful and energizing sight! Lots of people feed off the sunlight and can continue to explore and enjoy the long day since the production of melatonin levels don’t peak as much with longer days.

To sum up the philosophy of these Greenlanders who value their time during the day in order to explore all the natural beauty, we’ll borrow the eloquent quote from the popular travel Greenland website, “Twice the light, twice the days.”

If you are just passing through on a holiday and want to be bewitched by the beauty of the midnight sun, then you are given nothing but time to sightsee. If you need sleep then be equipped with light-abating materials before braving these wondrous places of the world.

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. – Galileo Galilei

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