The June solstice is coming – which is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It usually happens between June 20 and 22, when we have longer days than nights on this specific season since the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. On the June solstice, it reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees.
June solstice is also known as the Northern Solstice because it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. On this solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it’s visible in the sky for a longer period of time.
In many places around the world, the summer solstice represents the beginning of summer, which could have several tangible health benefits including better sleep and a more positive mood.
During this season, people tend to feel better and have a slight elevation in their mood. This may be because the additional sunlight helps to regulate our internal clock, known as circadian rhythm because our eyes’ light receptors have an easier time recognizing when it’s time to wake up and fall asleep.
On the other hand, during Winter solstice (happens between December 21 or 22), there will have the shortest days and longest nights in the Northern hemisphere – which is the official first day of the winter season – at least on this side of the planet. The tilt of the Earth causes the change in seasons, and during the winter solstice, in particular, the Earth’s Northern hemisphere is farthest away from the sun.
This can affect your body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates your normal sleep cycles, as well as your ability to produce melatonin, aka your body’s sleep hormone. To put it simply, the lack of sunlight could definitely take a toll on your snooze time.
Everyone’s heard of the winter blues, but there’s real science behind why this time of year has you feeling bummed out a lot of the time. During this time of the year, your brain’s serotonin levels (“feel-good” neurotransmitter that our body produces) are largely affected by the amount of exposure we get to daylight.
So when the days start getting significantly shorter, and there’s a limited amount of sunshine, your serotonin levels can drop, causing you to feel a little moody and melancholy.
Now that summer solstice is getting nearer, it is a great opportunity to pause and reflect. During this time, your Yang energy reaches its peak – which is very much important because as a summer shifts into fall, Yang energy will decline. This great abundance of yang energy will translate throughout your body because during this season you are active and growing.
Learn more about how seasons can affect your body’s rhythm by checking out our Seasonal courses.