You can officially blame the moon for your lack of sleep. The time you spend asleep can be reduced by up to 20 minutes,with time spent trying to fall asleep increasing by, on average, a further five minutes, according to one study. That may not seem like a large amount, but if you typically only get around seven hours of sleep per night, this takes you below the threshold of recommended sleep.
Similarly, delta waves during deep sleep (also known as NREM sleep) were reduced by 30%. Deep sleep is particularly important for your brain and body, so this significant reduction could have a huge impact on your productivity.
So what can you do about it? Moon breathing is a yogic technique, also known as moon piercing breath or chandra bhedana, and has been around for years.
How to practise moon breathing this week
Moon breathing is a technique where you breathe through your left nostril and close off your right nostril, which helps you fall asleep faster than normal and improves your overall sleep quality. This will help combat the sleep disruption felt by the full moon.
Speaking to MattressNextDay, yoga teacher Gemma Nice describes moon breathing as when “you close off the right nostril and inhale through the left. The left nostril is thought to help calm the parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest responses) rather than fight or flight, which is the sympathetic nervous system.
“It allows you to regulate your breath, heart rate, and nervous system, allowing you to feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy without your head being full of unread emails or emails that need to be responded to right now or the pressure of an upcoming board meeting. It allows you to feel calm and relaxed and release the emotions from stress and anxiety.”
These are the six steps to practising moon breathing:
- Come to a seated or lying-down position, closing your eyes.
- Push your shoulders down away from your ears and take in one breath to feel fully centred and calm.
- Bring your right thumb to close off your right nostril. Rest your other fingers around your hand or extend the fourth and fifth fingers.
- Inhale through your left nostril and close it off with your fourth finger.
- Exhale out through the right nostril and keep this pattern going.
- Repeat for a few minutes, or until your mind has settled and you feel calmer and more relaxed. Notice where your shoulders are and how you feel.