Sleep Tips from the Lands of Midnight Sun and Polar Night

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Joy Richards - October 14, 2019 Hi, I’m Joy - Happy Beds' Sleep Specialist. Aside from Italian food and my three lovely boys, nothing makes me happier than helping our customers find what works for them, and how they can make the most of their forty winks.

Sleep Tips from the Lands of Midnight Sun and Polar Night

We’ve all seen or heard of fantastical horror films where the characters live in lands of eternal night, where there are 6 months of day and 6 months of night, or similar. But, did you know, there are some places on our planet where, for certain parts of the year, constant daylight or darkness is a real thing? Let me tell you all about it.

Which Country Has 24 Hours of Daylight?

The Arctic and Antarctic Circles are found on the extremities of polar day and polar night. This means, for part of the year, the sun is in the sky for 24 continuous hours, and then the reverse happens. The North Pole can see a ‘midnight sun’ (the term used for this phenomenon) for up to 6 months of the year between March and September, whereas the South Pole experiences this from September to March.

Elsewhere, these events typically happen once a year during the June and December solstices in nearby countries. Iceland, for example, receives sunshine for up to 21 hours a day around the Summer Solstice in June, and it is in twilight for the remaining few hours. This twilight period is known as ‘white nights’.

Other Scandinavian countries such as Norway, as well as Canada and Russia, also see a similar phenomenon, with Svalbard in Norway seeing no sunset between the end of April and August each year.

Few people in the south get to see the midnight sun, simply because there are few settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

Where Is the Longest Night in the World?

In reverse of the midnight sun, is the polar night – when the sun stays below the horizon all day. However, the area affected by polar night is slightly smaller than that of the midnight sun.

Scandinavian countries, like Finland and Iceland, are renowned for their long, dark winters. Polar night in Finland begins when the sun sets in late November and ends when it eventually rises again in mid-January. In the northernmost parts of the country, this ‘night’ can last as long as 50 days.

What Can We Learn From Those Who Live Under The Midnight Sun and Polar Night?

The effects of polar nights and midnight suns on sleep are far-fetching, and seasonal disorders are not uncommon. However, people who live beneath these phenomena learn to adapt and survive, and can teach those of us who suffer from sleep issues a thing or two.

So, if you work shifts, like to nap, or simply have trouble kipping, you may like to try the below.

Block Out the Light

Your body is naturally programmed to sleep when it is dark, so it is important to adjust your environment to facilitate this. Invest in thick, blackout blinds and curtains for your bedroom, and make sure to close these a few hours before bedtime to signal your body that it is time to wind-down ready for sleep.

Sleep masks are always great at blocking out bright light too, or you could always don a pair of sunglasses during your evening activities.

Supplement Your Diet

It’s no secret that what you eat and drink can affect your quality of sleep, as well as how long it takes to drift off. So, have you considered taking vitamins and supplements?

Vitamin D is produced as a result of sunlight exposure, so those who spend a lot of time in the dark may be lacking in this, leading to sleep disturbances, as well as a changeable mood, muscle weakness or even brittle bones.

Vitamin D does not naturally occur in many foods, so a supplement may be the best method.

Read more: 10 Foods That Help You Get a Quality Sleep

Get Plenty of Exercise

Exercise and sleep are intrinsically linked, so if you have an unusual sleep pattern you may choose to exercise as soon as you wake. This will make you feel alert, refreshed and ready for your day ahead, something you wouldn’t want just before you go to bed.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable

It may sound obvious, but you’re not going to sleep very well if you’re uncomfortable – whether it is day or night. So, if your bed mattress is old, lumpy or just not very supportive, it may be time to swap it out for a snazzy new Happy Beds one.

Have a comfy nights sleep