The Impact and Coping Strategies for the Polar Nights

The polar night brings a range of challenges that can affect our physical and mental health in various ways. Therefore, the student counselling office has initiated a Full Spectrum Lamp Café for all residents of the student accommodations at Elvesletta.

Polar Night Morning – Full Spectrum lamps
From 23 November 2023 to 16 February 2024 between 8:30 am to 11:30 am
Study room at Elvesletta

According to student counsellor Tone Toft, the polar night can influence sleep quality, and finding peace at bedtime can be challenging. This is often linked to changes in melatonin levels regulated by sunlight. Maintaining good sleep routines is crucial for a stable circadian rhythm.

One of the most common challenges during the polar night is the sensation of reduced energy. With less available daylight, the body may experience a decline in vitality. Toft encourages everyone to be mindful of this and adjust their activity levels to maintain balance.

In locations such as Longyearbyen, where there is no daylight for two months, it is necessary to use alternative methods to simulate the effects of natural light. Artificial lamps are used to replicate daylight, and it is crucial to use them at the right time, preferably in the morning. Using the lights too late in the day may disrupt the circadian rhythm, which is why it is important to be cautious.

Some individuals experience increased feelings of melancholy during the polar night. Awareness of these emotions and utilizing available resources can help counteract this effect. Creating a pleasant environment and appreciating the little things can make a significant difference for those struggling the most during this period.

The polar night demands extra attention to well-being, and by implementing simple measures, one can better handle the challenges that come with the annual period of limited daylight.

Here are Tone Toft’s tips for managing the polar night:

Supplement your diet with vitamin D to compensate for the lack of sunlight.

Maintain regular sleep and mealtime routines to strengthen the body’s natural rhythm.

Be attentive to your body’s signals and adjust your activity level according to your needs.

Maintain social connections to counteract isolation and enhance mental health.

Use artificial lighting at the right time and incorporate moderate exercise into your routines to boost energy levels.

Even during the polar night, it is crucial to uphold daily routines to provide structure and predictability to life.

Go out when the moon is large, the starry sky is clear, or the northern lights illuminate the night sky. This can contribute to well-being.

Student life