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One of the joys of travel is retreating to the comfort of your bed after a day of sightseeing and enjoying a good night’s sleep to get ready for another round of discovery. But sleep can be challenging, especially if you’re traveling to a place where the sun never sets.
That’s true of many places above the Arctic Circle in summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s also true of Antarctica during the summer – its summer, which is opposite of the Northern Hemisphere’s. If you’re dreaming of a bright Christmas, Antarctica is the place to be.
Endless summer days and summer nights may sound glorious, but experts say those never-ending days may lead to sleep deprivation. Here are tips to help you sleep tight.
How to trick your brain
Just knowing it’s still light outside can trick the brain into not wanting to go to sleep, says certified nutritionist Serena Poon. “Seeing light and darkness helps regulate hormones in your brain that tell you when to wake up and when to go to sleep,” she says. “Normally, when the sun goes down, it triggers the release of melatonin, which helps you wind down for bed.”
Travelers should determine a set bedtime and create a sort of wind-down ritual to help them fall and stay asleep. Begin blocking out light with blackout curtains an hour before bedtime. Also, turn off electronics, whose artificial blue light, emitted by their screens, can affect the release of melatonin. Enjoy a soothing beverage, a bath, some meditation or journaling.
“You will also want to limit caffeine during the day and refrain from drinking alcohol at least two hours before bed,” she says. ‘REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is significantly disrupted when you drink alcohol, which will limit your body’s ability to rejuvenate.”