Fake birds and sun lamps

“I’ve got sunshine, on a cloudy day,” – The Temptations

Number of winters The Temptations spent in Helsinki: zero.

Töölönlahti starting to freeze

Töölönlahti starting to freeze

Getting up before the sun is no big deal in Helsinki these days because the sun doesn’t get up until 9am. And by up, I mean legs over the side of the bed, still in its pyjamas.

Today's forecast - with 3 weeks to go until the shortest day

Today’s forecast – with 3 weeks to go until the shortest day

At mid-day the sun in Helsinki sits just 8 degrees above the horizon. Which means that while we have sunlight, we often have very little sunshine. In fact, November was ‘three times gloomier than average’ with Helsinki having a total of just 12 hours of sunshine in the first 26 days.

A rare November day

A rare November day

So how do we cope with these grey days that seem like constant twilight? Well luckily it’s still quite novel which helps and before heading out we have a hit of Vitamin D spray every morning.


We also bought a sunlamp which wakes us by filling the room with a soft glow. This grows stronger until we wake to what feels like a room full of sunlight – it also has a setting that includes the sound of birds chirping.

Time to wake up! The fake sun has risen & the fake birds are chirping

Time to wake up! The fake sun has risen & the fake birds are chirping

The temperature has been sitting around 2 degrees for a month now, which means any snow we have doesn’t stick around. Last winter was very mild by Finnish standards and no snow means dark days as there’s nothing to reflect the light. So for the first time in my life I’m really hoping it will get much colder!

Perfect number plate for snow

Perfect number plate for snow

But I’ve got a bit to learn yet about snow. I was walking home the other day admiring the flakes as they fell around me and decided to pull my hood on. What a rookie! There’s no better way to spoil a romantic mood than by dumping a whole lot of snow on your own head!

Sun and Moon times in Helsinki

14 thoughts on “Fake birds and sun lamps

  1. I read in the Metro paper today that apparently it was the gloomiest November for ages with only 16 hours of sunshine. 16 hours?! What is that, like 2 minutes a day?!

    Good on you, everyone needs to pull on a snow filled hood every once in a while 🙂


  2. Last year, when we lived in Moscow, they had the wettest September on record. I don’t remember the amount of mm of rainfall, but it wasn’t a drizzle at all. And there were only two days out of the whole month without any rain. That was one long grey and wet month :s


    • Hi John, yes – while many foods naturally growing here are high in Vit D, lack of Vit D is a real problem & has been linked to depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) & even Finlands high suicide rates. You can buy sun lamps that you sit in front of for 20 minutes a day & even earphones that deliver the right kind of light straight to the receptors in your head! I know of at least three Finnish families however who opt to spend the darkest 3 months of each year in Thailand instead ☺️


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