As the northern hemisphere heads into winter and the days grow shorter spare a thought for those people at the far ends of the earth where the “polar night” means darkness for days at a time and the sun doesn’t make it above the horizon. Sounds pretty grim, right? At least there’s a balance, these people living in the Arctic Circle also get to enjoy the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Really, in the modern world, if we can flip on a light switch we can all enjoy living in the land of the midnight sun. Unlike for our relatives only a few generations ago we can bend the natural cycles of the sun to our convenience. We can stay up playing or exercising, go shopping to the 24-hour supermarket, students burn the midnight oil in the library cramming for exams, some people start their work “day” at midnight or later with construction and transport going on all through the night.
It’s one of the many areas where human endeavour and achievement has triumphed over nature. It’s a boon for busy people and a necessity when emergencies can occur any time and the police or medical professionals need to be ready.
There are downsides though. Just because we can bend the rules of nature doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. There are strict rules about shift work at night because of how it is recognised as a health risk. Our genetics are hard coded with the need for sleep, with our circadian rhythm and the hormones that tell us light is for being awake in and we should sleep in the dark.
When that is interrupted, when the 24-hour world gives us reason to be awake and the blue light from our laptops, tablets and phones mimics the blue light of the sun, we run the risk of serious health problems such as obesity, depression, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
No-one wants to turn the clock back but we can reduce the impact and allow our bodies a more natural rhythm and a good night’s sleep. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the hours before bedtime and keeping that time consistent day to day will help you slip off to sleep easier. Combating that fake sunlight from your mobile phone in the evenings will allow your body to produce the hormones to get you to sleep and can be done with an anti-blue light screen protector like WaveWall Sleep.
It’s far easier to enjoy all the benefits of a 24/7 world if we are healthy enough, so make sure to look after your body and trust to ancient rhythms in a modern world.
Do you sometimes feel like you live in the land of the midnight sun?
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