As the Sun Sets Earlier, Let’s Embrace the Night

By Rachel Puryear

As the time shifts back for Fall, and makes obvious the upcoming shorter days of winter, many bemoan the early sunsets. Indeed, the long days and late sunsets of summer do offer lots of outdoor fun, and plenty of daylight by which to view scenery.

However, the long nights also offer their own special after-dark fun, as well as the relative quiet and calm of night. Accordingly, let’s celebrate and embrace the long nights during this time of year, and enjoy the nighttime activities made possible by earlier sunsets.

Silhouette of a person looking up at the Milky Way galaxy in the night sky, with deep blue and purple and orange colors visible.

Here are just a few things to celebrate about the longer nights of winter:

Gathering Indoors With Friends and Loved Ones

This is something we have all dearly missed over the past couple of years. Covid has made this unsafe for too long. However, this seems to finally be changing for the better. At this stage of the pandemic, more people than ever are vaccinated, and Covid cases finally seem to be past their peak.

Why not brew some hot coffee/tea/cider/hot drinks and make some hot soup or stew, and finally get some long-overdue face-to-face time with people we have missed? Gathering indoors offers an intimate setting that lends itself to small group connections – more so than large, outdoor Summer gatherings tend to. The long nights can offer more of a chance to get together and catch up with each other. If there’s a fireplace and blankets, that’s even better!

Great chilly-weather indoor activities include game nights, watching movies together, snuggle fests, conversation and connection, and more.

Enjoying Some Quiet Time to Yourself

Maybe you need some you-time – this can be in addition to quality time with others. You can reflect, read, write, think, meditate, or just have some down time to yourself at night – without feeling like you should be outside taking advantage of daylight. With the evening turning dark a little earlier, things tend to quiet and calm down.

If you have kids or others you need to tend to, they might also fall asleep a little earlier this time of year, giving you a little more quiet time at night. This can help you enjoy more quiet down time than you likely get at sunnier, busier times of the year.

Night sky over mountains, with a comet flying past, and deep purple colors with bright orange near the horizon.

Night Sky Watching

Longer nights mean more time to bundle up, sit back, and watch the stars. If you live in the West where in many places it’s not that cold in winter, you can drive out to more rural areas on clear nights, and enjoy the starry night sky. Check out this guide on my other blog, for places in California with awesome night sky watching, where it’s not too cold in winter.

Starry night sky over a lake with a large tree in the middle, and soft blue and green colors in the sky.

Nighttime Walks and Better Sleep

Outdoor walks are a great way to invigorate the body, and also to refresh the mind. One of my favorite times of day to walk is in the evening, after dark. It’s nice and quiet then, not so many people are out, there are fewer cars and less traffic, and things are calmer than in the daytime. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood where I can walk around safely at night, and I hope you also have a safe place to walk at night.

After a nice evening walk, it’s easier to sleep at night later on. Something about long winter nights is really conducive to deep, restorative sleep. Some people report feeling the need to sleep more when it’s colder and rainier out, much like the many animals in the wild who hibernate.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to your enjoying the longer nights. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you do not do so already. xoxo

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