Iceland, along with Arctic regions, has some of the most interesting sleep conditions in the world. In the summer, there are 24 hours of light; in the winter, there are 24 hours of darkness. Here’s what Iceland teaches us about sleep hygiene and habits we should all adopt.
Natural melatonin is so important in Iceland.
Melatonin is the chemical our brain creates that tells us it’s time to wind down. The dark triggers the release of melatonin, so people who live in bright environments should ensure they create a dark environment before bed.
Keeping dark spaces for better sleeping isn’t just useful for people living in Iceland. People who live in heavily light-polluted areas can benefit from creating a dark environment before bed. The Sleep Foundation suggests blackout curtains, eyemasks, and storing away electronics for a darker room.
Sleep schedules must be honored in iceland.
In Iceland, there are no environmental cues to rely on to know when it’s time to go to bed. Because of this, people who experience 24 hours of daylight are exceptionally aware of their sleep schedules.
Becoming aware of bedtimes is a great habit to form, so your body gets used to going to sleep at a specific time and waking up at a specific time. To help compliment your sleep schedule, Washington Post reports that it’s beneficial to spend time outside in the morning to release cortisol, the hormone that wakes you up. This helps solidify your circadian rhythm as it relies on the light. They also recommend eating and exercising at the same time each day to help keep your circadian rhythm in check.
Mimic the sun.
For those of us in more “ideal” sleeping conditions, Iceland teaches us to use those to our advantage. This means we should mimic the sun as much as we can.
When the sun rises, we should soak it up. This may mean spending more time outside in the morning or just turning on the lights in our houses once the sun has risen. Similarly, when the sun sets, we should turn lights off in our homes and turn electronics off so that our circadian rhythm can be more in tune with our environment.
These are some habits that you can implement to improve your sleep.
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