Alaska Daylight


Sun taken at 2:00 pm on Nov. 27, looking across Turnagain Arm near Girdwood, AK.


Before my wife and I made a final decision to move to Alaska, we visited for 10 days last Christmas, to check out the lack of sunlight we had heard so much about.  Actually, we came to be with family, but a secondary goal was to find out if the lack of sunlight was as negative as many people like to think.

People in the lower 48 frequently say they couldn’t live in Alaska and be dark all winter.  There is talk of vitamin D deficiency, light deprivation leading to depression, and so forth.  So many notions of Alaska winters are negative.

Granted we live in the Anchorage area and not up north where they are indeed in 24 hours of darkness.  Therefore we really don’t know what that world is like either.  But speaking for our present environment, I would hold that the degree of suffering due to reduced daylight is minimal.

The most serious side effect I’ve experienced so far is that I get more sleep.  I find that the mid afternoon darkness starts my feeling that it must be dinner time, and by 8:30 or so, I’m ready for bed.  This really isn’t such a bad arrangement, because on most days I’m able to be outside while the sun is up.  If I were stuck in an interior space where I didn’t get to see the sun during the day, I might feel differently about it. But even in the Midwest, there were many days when I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark.

On bright sunny days, driving can be problematic if heading in a southerly direction because the sun is always low in the sky.  But, as you drive, there are frequently mountains to block that direct sun in the eyes problem.  Not too big an issue, for the most part.

Like many experiences in Alaska, light and darkness is just another of the extremes.  The more northerly the latitude, the more dynamic are the day to day changes.  And the really wonderful part of that reality is that in just a few short days, the phenomena of little light will reverse, and soon the land of midnight sun will again be present.

1 reply »

  1. Your words echo so true about wanting to linger in bed because it is still dark outside. In the 20 years I lived there even with only 4 hours of daylight, (North of Fairbanks), I could never understand what all the fuss was about. Thanks for a great post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s