June 21st is the longest day of the year. On this day, the tilt of earth’s axis is aligned closely with the sun, giving us the most daylight. The summer solstice marks the onset of summer, and will occur in the northern hemisphere at 12:24am (EST). While that extra daylight is nice for backyard picnics and working outdoors, what does it do to our sleep?
All that sun exposure can make it hard to sleep. Think about it: your body has become accustomed to the sun setting around the same time every day and then you going to bed a few hours after that. When the sun sets later, your body’s internal clock will be thrown off. You may find it harder to fall asleep since the light doesn’t align with your natural body clock.
The summer solstice can make sleep even more difficult for those already suffer from sleep issues. The increased daylight does not allow enough melatonin, a key ingredient for sleep, to be produced. Melatonin is produced at night, so more daylight means less time for it to be produced.
The good news? The summer solstice can be an opportune time to reset your body clock if you want to get more sleep and start waking up or going to sleep at different times. The earlier sunrise can cause you to wake up earlier, so if you’ve been meaning to catch that 6 AM workout class, the summer solstice may help! However, the later sunset can make you want to stay up longer. Avoid the extra daylight getting in the way of your 8 hours by using blackout shades.
Safely soak up the sun while you can, and use this summer solstice as an opportunity for sunset Instagrams and getting back on track for great sleep.