hand pushing down on the sun to make it set

The Sun Won't Set

I recently went on an international trip to Sweden to visit my brother. If you haven’t already, you can read my article about traveling with narcolepsy.

Thankfully, I managed to get all of my medications refilled just in time for me to leave the country.

Traveling on an overnight flight

Being on the international flight was a very cool experience. Never in my life have I been on a plane that big, and it was so high above the earth you could look out the window and see the curvature of our planet.

This was an overnight flight. We left the states at 10:00 PM, flew for a little over 8 hours, and arrived in Copenhagen at 1:00 PM. Almost immediately after getting on the plane, I laid down and slept.

I debated taking my Xywav doses on the plane, but I did end up taking both of them. The second dose knocked me out so hard that I awoke to a flight attendant practically yelling at me that it was time for breakfast.

Getting to my brother's home

I had 2 more flights after arriving in Copenhagen; one to Stockholm and another to Luleå, where my brother and his girlfriend picked me up and drove to Piteå. After sleeping on the longer flight, I wasn’t feeling much jetlag. We made it to my brother’s place, where I unpacked and settled in.

Summers in Sweden

During the summer months in Sweden, the sun does not set. Being so close to the Arctic Circle means that when evening hours come, the sun simply touches the horizon before rising again. For the few weeks I was there, the “sunset” (if you want to call it that) was at 12:30 AM, and the “sunrise” was before 1:00 AM.

I knew this was going to be the case, which is why I fought so hard to make sure I had plenty of my nightly medication before leaving America.

Missing my usual sleepiness cues

The room I slept in had blackout curtains, but the strange part was not getting the sunset cues that brought on the feeling of sleepiness. I spent the first several days being awake until 1:00 AM before finally deciding I needed to go to bed. Had I not set an alarm in the morning, I probably would have slept the day away too.

I cannot imagine living without sunsets

My brother has tried talking me into studying abroad there. Though I appreciate the beauty of Sweden, I don’t know how I could live with not having a “normal” sunrise and sunset. I could not imagine living in a place that does not have a sunrise for a few months out of the year.

Even in my home state of Kentucky, I struggle with staying up past 7:00 PM during winter months because the sun will set around 5:00 PM. On the other hand, I have learned how to train my body to get tired around a decent hour during the summer, when the sun stays up much longer.

I would be interested in meeting a person with narcolepsy who lives in Sweden. Even without having a sleep disorder, I’m sure it would be difficult to find a routine that doesn’t follow the sun’s pattern.

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