Heading to the beach for summer vacation sounds just fine for most people. But far more interesting than the tried-and-true trip to the seashore is a jaunt to the exotic Land of the Midnight Sun. I ask you – how cool does that sound?
The Land of the Midnight Sun – aka the Arctic Circle – is a fascinating spot on the globe, almost like a real world psychology experiment.
To spend time there is to spend time in a land of extremes, which can be exhilarating … or mind-numbing. They call it the Land of the Midnight Sun because each year at the summer solstice, the sun is out for 24 full hours. The deeper you go into the Arctic Circle, closer to the North Pole, the longer the so-called “polar day” lasts; in some parts of Scandinavia , Russia, Alaska and Canada it can last for two full months. That’s 60 full days without the sun ever going down.
And that means you can do all those great vacation activities – like golf, hiking, skiing (in a t-shirt!) – all night long.
But all that never-ceasing sun could also send you a little off-kilter. When the sun never goes down, the temptation to “make hay” while the sun shines can leave you exhausted after just a few days. So with that in mind, here’s a quick list of sleeping tips so that you can keep your head on straight (we’ve covered these before, but here they are again for convenience):
- Try to keep the same bedtime. Traveling across multiple time zones can wreak havoc with your sleep cycles. This is especially true when constant sunlight never signals your body that it’s time for rest. If at all possible, try to ignore the time zone you’ve traveled to and go to bed and wake up at about the same time you would at home. Obviously, when you’re six time zones away from home, this isn’t practical, but try to split the difference so you don’t get completely out of whack.
- Get some exercise. Even a quick workout during the day will make it easier to fall asleep at night.
- Bring your own pillow. There’s no place like home, and a pillow is a reminder of the place where you (theoretically) sleep best. By using your familiar pillow, you’re signaling your brain that it’s okay to power down.
- Create a good sleeping environment. Even if you’re sleeping on a block of ice at Lapland’s Ice Hotel, you need to get comfortable so you can get some shuteye. Close the curtains and shut out all light. Turn off your phone and get that leaky faucet fixed. And bring a sleep machine if you need to drown out strange noises.
- Have a bedtime routine. This is all about sending your brain signals that it’s time to shut down. Maybe take a relaxing bath or listen to some soothing music.
Follow these rules, and you’ll be well-rested in the Land of the Midnight Sun. And maybe you’ll even want to head back six months from now – when the sun never comes up.