Feature Interview: How are Swedes affected by short summer nights?

Midnight sun over a river in Norrbotten, Sweden (iStock)
During the dark winter months, Swedes long for the endless, bright summer evenings, a Midsummer Night’s Dream, if you like. But those long daylight hours, can be a nightmare for some Swedes, who have trouble sleeping.

Just before Midsummer, a study has been launched at the Sleep Laboratory at Stockholm University, to see how our sleep is affected by the bright summer nights. Fifteen subjects will be tested first while they have been living as normal, then after camping out during the short nights of high summer.

The researchers want to see how our biological clocks are affected by the minimal darkness of the Swedish summer.

“We want to find out how we adapt biologically to live so far North,” says John Axelsson, a professor of Sleep Science. “From an evolutionary perspective, we’ve lived up here in the North a very short period, and perhaps there are negative consequences of such differing amounts of light.”

Feature Interview
How are biological clocks affected by the minimal darkness of the Swedish summer? Listen to professor of Sleep Science John Axelsson in this interview with Radio Sweden.
Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Observing Ramadan in Canada’s Arctic, Radio Canada International

Finland: Bright nights begin as midnight sun rises over northern Finland, Yle News

Sweden: Swedes enjoy spectacular Northern Lights show, Radio Sweden

Russia: Arctic 2016 in photos, blog by Mia Bennett

United States: Lights in the sky and mysterious gravesites: Seeking the supernatural in Western Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News

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