The position of the polar circles is not fixed, it varies by almost 15 meters from 365 days, because their exact positions depend on the angle of the Earth’s axis in relation to the plane of the orbit. The Earth’s axis is inclined with respect to its orbit around the Sun by 23.27 degrees. This effect (also known as the obliquity of the ecliptic) is responsible for the fact that on our Earth, in both the southern and northern hemispheres, we can experience four different seasons each year – spring, summer, autumn and winter. And it is also responsible for the fact that now, as we continue our journey northward, we will no longer experience a sunset thanks to this inclination, since the sun’s rays always strike the earth’s surface at least at a shallow angle.
Night turns into day and sometimes day turns into night. At least figuratively, because how does that affect our sleep rhythm?
Sleeping in the midsummer night
Our normal biorhythm follows a relatively simple pattern: light means awake, dark means asleep. In Central Europe, we are already set to this rhythm in childhood, and apart from shift work or party nights, we maintain it.
Responsible for the functioning of this rhythm is a hormone called melatonin. Normally, melatonin production is increased towards the afternoon and leads to corresponding tiredness and the desire for sleep in the evening. If, on the other hand, there is a melatonin deficiency, we do not get tired – but this sometimes has long-term consequences for our health and well-being. So are all people north and south of the Arctic Circle sick?
Maybe it’s the breathtaking landscape of Lofoten, the midnight sun, or the heavy stomach due to the Kanelbullar you’ve eaten – in any case, the usual sleep rhythm quickly gets out of whack once you’ve spent some time in the land of the midnight sun. Between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. in particular, photography enthusiasts will build up a sleep deficit, and the culprit is the light. For seven hours, so to speak, the golden hour prevails: golden sunlight and long shadows. The camera is in constant use, the photographer too. The bed: empty, only when tiredness takes over, the organism is forced to rest and one lies down. But woe betide us if we wake up in the middle of the night and find that the light is already (or still?) the best for photography.