Today, we can see the rise and fall of the full moon, called the hunter’s moon. But did you know that on the night of a full moon, your sleep can be negatively impacted? This is known as lunar insomnia.
From controlling the tides to impacting the behavioural patterns of animals, the moon has a much deeper link to planet earth than you may think, including your sleep.
To help those who expect a troubled slumber, the sleep experts at MattressNextDay and astrologer Inbaal Honigman explored how the full moon can impact your sleep, as well as sharing their solutions.
It can take you five minutes longer to fall asleep
According to Inbaal: ‘The moon controls the tides, pulling water towards the shore and releasing it back again. The average body is made up of 70% water. If the moon can move whole oceans, imagine the effect it has on our bodies when trying to relax.’ This has also been confirmed by scientists in Switzerland. Their study found that on the night of a full moon, it takes the average person an extra five minutes to fall asleep.
You can lose 20 minutes of sleep
The same study found that the average person sleeps for 20 minutes less on the night of a full moon. In addition, on the days leading up to the full moon, both men and women had lower evening levels of the essential sleep hormone, melatonin. This is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle as it helps your body synchronise with both night and day.
It can decrease your deep sleep by 30%
Another four-year study found that during the time of the full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30%, despite no other aspects of their sleep routine changing. This can explain why the morning after a full moon, you can wake up groggier as opposed to more energised.
4 Ways to prevent poor sleep on the night of a full moon
Whatever the correlation between the moon and your sleep pattern, getting a bad night’s sleep mid-week is less than ideal. However, luckily, there are ways in which you can minimise the impact.
- Minimise your use of light in the lead up to your bedtime. As history suggests, it was the light of the full moon that kept people awake, it makes sense to minimise your use of light in the lead up to bed. As the late afternoon starts drawing in, you should start dimming your lights so that by the time you get to bed, your bedroom is virtually black. The use of blackout curtains or an eye mask is also recommended to help with your circadian rhythm, which signals to your brain when it is to time to be alert and time to rest.
- Stay off your phone for a minimum of three hours before bed. The blue light emitted on your phone screen can trick your mind into thinking that it’s daytime despite it being dark outside. You should, therefore, always use the night mode feature on your phone at least three hours before you go to bed, or ideally, avoid your phone altogether.
- Plan yourself a relaxing night. If you go to bed expecting a bad night’s sleep, you’re more likely to due to the placebo effect. Plus, it’ll result in your body producing more of the stress hormone, cortisol. The higher the cortisol, the more awake you feel. To help combat this, you plan a relaxing night full of activities such as yoga, meditating to deep breathing, journaling or even having a hot bath.
- Play rain sounds at night to help you sleep more soundly. As rain is predictable, calming, stable and non-threatening, steady rainfall noises have been proven to help lure the brain into falling asleep as it helps induce a more meditative state that brings on relaxation.