What Is the Summer Solstice? How It Affects Your Day — And Your Health

What Is the Summer Solstice? How It Affects Your Day — And Your Health

At 6:34 p.m. Eastern on Monday, the sun will reach its peak height, stacked directly above the Tropic of Cancer, before it again heads southward. 

For us earthlings, this means the chance to enjoy the most sunshine in a single day. 

In many places around the world, the summer solstice represents the beginning of summer, which is more than just an excuse to hit the beach. According to science, the summertime may have tangible health benefits, including better sleep and a more positive mood. 

"People tend to feel better in summer months," Philip Gehrman, associate director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, told Time. "There's a slight elevation in our mood. More positive emotions are reported."

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 its time to wake up and fall asleep.

(Safely) soaking up the summer's extra sunlight has also been linked to promoting more of the brain's feel-good serotonin when compared to winter's grimness. 

But just keep in mind that after the summer solstice, the northern hemisphere's daylight hours will lessen until those cold, dark winter days return. Summer Fridays have never felt more crucial. 

Read more:
• You've Been Sitting on the Beach Wrong Your Whole Life
 One of These 7 Songs Will Be 2016's Song of the Summer
 Science Says Young People Prefer Good Internet to Sunlight or Hot Water