Solutions for getting sleep during Alaskan Summers
But you shouldn't worry too much about disruptions to your circadian rhythm. With a few sleep tips, you will more than be able to withstand the midnight sun, and even come to love and accept it like Alaska's year-round residents do.
Here are a couple of tips to remember when visiting the Last Frontier:
- If you're only visiting for a short time, try and keep your sleep/wake cycles as close to your home time zone as possible. By staying relatively close to your home time, you will avoid having to adjust to Alaska time, without having to adjust back to your home time after your short trip.
- If staying for longer than a weekend, start adjusting your sleep/wake schedule to match that of your destination. For instance, if you are traveling west to reach Alaska, start staying up a little later and waking a little later each day until you are in-sync with Alaska time. If traveling east to Alaska, go to bed and wake a little earlier until on AK Standard Time.
- Try to avoid the daylight in the evenings close to bedtime, and get exposure to light early in the morning. As stated before, light exposure helps regulate your sleep/wake cycles and getting or avoiding light at key times of the day can go a long way to keeping your sleep patterns healthy.
- Make sure that the bedroom you are staying in has dark curtains or blinds to keep the extra light out of the room. In a pinch, thumbtacking a blanket over the window can work just as well.
- If sleeping in a bright room, RV, or in a tent under the midnight sun, wear a sleep mask to bed to keep the light from disturbing your sleep.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. We know, you're on vacation, so a nightcap is probably in order. However, while alcohol can make initiating sleep easier, it also causes you to have disturbed sleep and wake frequently in the night.
- And finally, just because you can stay up past midnight to enjoy all the wonders of Alaska, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Unless of course you're attending the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game played by the Alaska Goldpanners, in which case staying up past midnight to watch a ball game played without artificial light is perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged).
So there you have it, a few summer sleep tips for your visit to Alaska this summer. We can't wait to have you visit our beautiful state and share with you the wonders of the midnight sun.
If napping is becoming more common due to what you believe is a health condition, talk to your family doctor. If you would like to speak to a sleep specialist about benefits you can receive from napping, or if you believe you have a more serious sleep disorder, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic for a free consultation.