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Can You Have Too Much Daylight?

Bob Harcharek, mayor of Barrow, Alaska—about 1,200 miles from the North Pole—talks about living without night.


From the end of May through early August, we get total sunshine. Then we get days where the sun goes below the horizon for a couple of hours but it never gets really dark. I just installed a basketball court, and there’ll be kids playing at one in the morning. When it’s hunting season, my family and I go out for walruses and seals and come in at two or three o’clock in the morning, get a couple of hours of sleep, and go to work. I can sleep in the sunshine, but there are some people whose internal clock it really bothers. They cover their windows with aluminum foil so they can sleep. Really, though, total darkness affects people more: About two weeks ago, the sun went down and won’t be back until the end of February. Right now, it’s noon, and all the streetlights are on.


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