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Black Beauty

Why we should all be spending more time in the dark

Orlebar Brown - replace me

Source Unsplash

It will come as no surprise that at Orlebar Brown, we love sunshine. When exposed to it responsibly, by which we mean absolutely no skimping on the SPF, the benefits are essential. However, with sun comes shade, with day comes night and with light comes dark. The natural balance of this is what makes us appreciate it. Which raises the question—are you applying enough of this balance to yourself?

During night, we utilise darkness to maintain our body’s circadian rhythm (our sleep-wake cycle) which is vital for a good night’s sleep, but time in the dark doesn’t necessarily have to be reserved for the bedroom. Flotation tanks for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) were first introduced in 1954 by American physician and neuroscientist John C. Lilly, in which an individual enters a horizontal enclosed tank of body-temperature water saturated with Epsom salts, causing the body to float. Not one for claustrophobics perhaps, but recent scientific research has found the tanks significantly improved sports recovery time and sleep quality.

You’ll likely already be aware that reducing your exposure to light heightens your remaining senses, which is a concept that London initiative Pitchblack Playblack have harnessed since their inception in 2016. Hosting communal events in cinemas due to their powerful sound systems, customers are invited to listen to music albums in their entirety while sitting in the dark for a truly immersive, visceral and meditative experience. One of their many testimonials claims, “Besides listening to the music, you could feel it.”

You need not be passive to experience the wonder of darkness; you can incorporate it into your travel plans too by night fishing, camping and nocturnal wildlife watching. Coventry University conducted a 2014 study titled ‘Dark Nature: Exploring potential benefits of nocturnal nature-based interaction for human and environmental health’. Centered around stargazing, they found that participants found the activity sociable and relaxing–perfect for a group or romantic getaway.

If you’re more of a day person, black beaches offer a soul-stirring environment with their dramatic volcanic black sand. Perhaps it’s time we experiment with how we Feel Summer, and where better than watching the sun set to starry nights on one of the black beaches of Hawaii or The Caribbean.


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