The full moon is often blamed for strange things happening, including the inability to sleep. What was once thought of as a myth is actually proven to be true by professionals in various studies. The studies show that because the body naturally reacts to the lunar phases, we are prone to struggle with things like sleeping during certain phases of the moon. Due to the fact there is nothing we can do about the cycles of the moon, we have to learn to adapt to the changes our bodies go through, rather than fight the inevitable that less sleep is likely to occur during periods of a full moon.
Your Body and the Moon
The University of Basel in Switzerland is among the first to prove how the body reacts to the phases of the moon. During a study performed on the sleeping participant’s brain waves, it was discovered that the participants experienced decreased periods of deep sleep, which is what makes a person feel completely rested when they wake up for the day. In other words, the participants experienced less REM, which is the sleep that makes you wake up feeling like a million bucks. In addition, the brain waves showed that the participants had a harder time falling asleep, taking an average of 5 minutes longer to fall asleep during periods of a full moon. Most people also slept for shorter periods of time during these lunar phases.
The study performed shows that even if you cannot see the moonlight, your body still feels it and adjusts accordingly. In fact, you do not even have to know that it is a full moon in order for your body to react. Experts say that this is due to the circalunar clock each of us has inside of our brains. This theory dates back to our ancestors that, unlike us, used the moonlight to determine the time of day and what they should be doing. For them, this meant whether or not they had more time to hunt because they needed the light of the moon to do so, but our bodies continue to operate on the same schedule as our ancestors regardless of what we do with our time.
Your Brain’s Reactions to a Full Moon
During a full moon, a study done by researchers at Gothenburg found that the brain becomes more susceptible to standard disturbances, which can also contribute to the difficulty sleeping. When the brain is extremely sensitive, it is unable to shut down or stay asleep if anything is going on around you, such as a barking dog, a loud car, or any noise in the house. Due to this sensitivity, it is harder for the brain to ever enter into a deep sleep, making you feel less rested and therefore, less pleasant during these times of the year.
What Can You Do?
The unfortunate truth is you cannot do much to enhance your sleep pattern during a full moon. Your body naturally adjusts to the changes. The more light that is pouring into your home, the less your body feels the need to sleep. Due to the changes being internal, taking medication, creating a relaxing environment, and creating different habits will not likely help you during these moon phases. What we need to do is realize that we are destined to get less sleep during this time and adjust accordingly. Unfortunately, many people also suffer from other issues during a full moon, such as behavioral issues, mood swings, and more disturbing dreams during that time, which could contribute to your difficulty with sleeping.