Categories: Sleep Science

Can a Full Moon Affect Your Sleep?

Sleep might be one of the easiest changes you can make to your everyday routine that can affect everything from your physical health to your emotional and mental health.

Lack of sleepLack of sleep or impaired sleep could:

  • Affect your immune system
  • Raise your blood pressure
  • Increase your risk of heart disease
  • Increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Poor sleep quality could also affect other chronic or serious underlying health problems, like multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, or gastrointestinal disorders.

An annual survey by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) showed both parents and children experience poor-quality or interrupted sleep due to various factors, including:

  • Light
  • Noise
  • Room temperature
  • Evening activities
  • Pets

Now, there’s another factor you might just be able to add to the list of factors for poor-quality sleep. Studies show the body reacts a certain way to the full moon, and is not related to the extra light outdoors.

All About a Full Moon

Here is some interesting information about full moons.

What Is a Full Moon?

A full moon is a lunar phase where the moon is completely illuminated from Earth’s view. This occurs when the Earth is situated between the moon and sun, where the ecliptic longitudes of the moon and sun differ by 180 degrees. This means the lunar hemisphere that is facing the near side of Earth is totally lit up by the sun, and looks like a circular disk.

Various cultures have given the full moon on each separate month a distinct name. These names were given to the whole month in which each full moon occurred. You can find several names in a list by the Farmer’s Almanac that people use commonly in the U.S.

The almanac provides details about the different variations of names for the moon; however, the New England Algonquin tribes on west to Lake Superior used the same ones. European settlers had their own customs they followed, and made up their own names.

How and When a Full Moon Occurs

The full moon occurs around once a month, when it shows its full face to Earth.

But, a lot of the times, it’s not completely full. When you look up at a full moon, you always see the same side of it. However, a part of it remains in shadow. It’s only when the Earth, sun, and moon are completely aligned that the moon becomes completely full, and this alignment creates what is known as a lunar eclipse. On occasion, you may even see a full moon twice in one month, which is referred to as a blue moon.

Can a Full Moon Affect Your Sleep?

Individuals have been reporting for some time that it’s more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when there’s a full moon, and even after they’ve experienced a seemingly good night’s sleep, they can still feel a bit sluggish — a kind of full moon hangover that they don’t experience on other days.

If you’re sleeping in a settler’s cabin or on a prairie where there’s no shade, the light of the moon is an inescapable explanation. However, the phenomenon remains long after humans moved inside climate-controlled and fully curtained homes, even if sleeping on a luxurious natural latex mattress.

What’s always been unclear is whether it’s true or not if the moon actually does affect us, or if it’s just a combination of selective reporting and imagination, with some individuals who believe in lunar cycles noticing a pattern where there isn’t one. The journal Current Biology now has published a report that suggests these believers have been on the right track all along.

In the astrology world, however, the full moon affecting your sleep isn’t a surprise. According to astrologists, the moon has control over the ocean. The moon’s gravitational pull on Earth has control over the ocean’s tides, and humans are made up of between 50 and 70 percent water (this depends on factors like age).

Since the moon has control over the Earth’s waters and oceans, its lunar phases could affect the human body as well, by affecting the waters within us, or so the astrologists believe.

Ways Astrologists Think a Full Moon Affects Our Sleep

Here are some ways a full moon can affect your sleep, according to astrology:

1. It Makes it More Difficult to Fall Asleep

While science is continuing to try and understand how and why the moon affects your sleep, astrology views the connection as very intuitive. The moon’s impact on the water element in your body makes it harder to sleep. Each human body consists of mostly water, and this makes the moon extremely capable of changing our mental state and mood. If your mind is chaotic, it’s hard to sleep. Try and imagine what a new moon or full moon can do to your thought processes. A chaotic mind can mean a much more difficult time being able to fall and stay asleep.

2. It Makes You Restless

A full moon can make you experience a sense of restlessness.  You may have higher-than-normal adrenalin, and it could make falling asleep more difficult because of the extra energy.

3. It Makes You Require Less Sleep

It’s possible your body could feel like it requires less sleep when there’s a full moon. According to astrology, this is because of the energy that comes from the moon’s light. They say luminaries can take a toll on your body both physically and mentally. During a full moon, you’re at a high, feeling very energized.

4. It Affects REM Sleep

A full moon interrupts the REM phase or deepest phase of your sleep due to the cosmic night light causing poor quality of sleep. Combine this with the possible increased restlessness and energy; it could make it extra difficult to sleep while there’s a full moon.

What Science Says About Full Moons Affecting your Sleep

According to a study, researchers found NREM sleep’s electroencephalogram (EEG) delta activity, which indicates deep sleep, saw a reduction of around 30 percent, EEG-assessed total sleep duration saw a 20-minute reduction, and the time it takes to start falling asleep increased by five minutes when there was a full moon. These changes were linked with lowered endogenous melatonin levels, and a reduction in subjective quality of sleep.

The participants didn’t have any way of knowing the time of day because they couldn’t see the moon, and their exposure to light was controlled. Also, the researchers were collecting the information for a general sleep study, instead of research on the lunar cycles. This further decreased the possibility of any biases during the study.

While there still needs to be more research to uncover the reason behind this phenomenon, and strengthen the findings already present, some research does suggest the association between the lunar cycle and our sleep has something to do with our circadian clocks.

There hasn’t been any study looking at the effect certain conditions and age could have on the quality of sleep as it’s tied to the moon; therefore, there’s still much to learn. In order to have a deeper understanding of this phenomena, researchers and scientists will have to gather up more information and data from more individuals over a longer time period, and take some time to study this data.

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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