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Can a full moon really impact our sleep quality? Let's find out!
the lunar lullaby: how *moon phases may be influencing our sleep*

Do you ever feel like your sleep quality fluctuates in line with the different phases of the moon? While to many it may seem like folklore, there's a growing body of research suggesting that lunar cycles could indeed be responsible for our fluctuating sleep patterns.

So what could we do but investigate?! Let's dive into this intriguing connection between the phases of the moon, how well we sleep, and how quickly we’re able to fall asleep a little more.

the lunar rhythm

For quite a few centuries now, we humans have observed the moon's phases and linked them with a range of different phenomena. Over the years everything from agricultural cycles (1) to tidal patterns (2), and even human behaviour has been perceived to be ruled by the moon. Our ancestors even believed that the moon held its own sway over our emotions and behavioural patterns too. But now, modern science is beginning to find evidence to support that there is truth behind some of these ancient beliefs (3).

the science behind it

Recent studies have explored the potential links between the different lunar phases and how it impacts our sleep in greater detail (4). Studies seem to indicate that some participants experienced poorer sleep quality during the full moon than during other phases of the moon (5). These results were uncovered through the careful monitoring of all participants' brain activity, hormone levels, and other sleep parameters. The discovery revealed that on average those involved in the study took five minutes longer to fall asleep and slept for 20 minutes less during the full moon.

moonlight and melatonin

One thing that could help to support this phenomenon is moonlight’s role in disrupting our natural sleep-wake cycle. Moonlight, especially during the full moon, can sneak its sneaky light through our curtains and wreak havoc with our melatonin production. Being exposed to artificial light at night (yes, even moonlight) can actually suppress our levels of melatonin, which will ultimately make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep (6).

evolutionary perspectives

It's often speculated that our ancestors could have been more active during the full moon (7). Whether it was to make the most of that increased night-time light for hunting, gathering, or socialising, this speculation is a real sticking point. This means that our internal body clocks could actually still be attuned to the phases of the moon. And so, it’s hardly surprising that these lunar cycles may still have an influence over our sleep patterns even in the present day.

how people can differ

Some of us may find that we are more sensitive to lunar phases. And some of us may not even notice a difference in our sleep patterns during the different cycles of the moon. Remember, there are certain factors (including age, gender, and environmental conditions) that also have a hand in how we are influenced by the different stages of lunar cycles. What’s more, cultural beliefs and personal experiences could also sway our perceptions of how much the various lunar stages can affect our sleep quality.

tips to help you get a better night’s sleep – whether the moon is full or not

Regardless of whether or not you believe that the different phases of the moon have an influence on sleep, prioritising good sleep hygiene is super important for our overall well-being. And so, let’s quickly explore some of our top tips to help you improve your sleep quality:

  1. Keep your bedroom cosy, calm, and cool. If you want to promote a more restful night’s sleep, we’d suggest keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
  2. Switch off screens. Keep your exposure to electronic devices in the bedroom to a minimum. Try to switch off screens and engage in more relaxing activities at least an hour before bedtime to avoid the pesky blue light being emitted from them from disrupting your circadian rhythm.
  3. Build a bedtime routine. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. This means waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time each morning and night. It will help to regulate your body's internal clock.
  4. Manage stress levels. With relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching, it’s easier to destress before diving under the duvet.
  5. Get professional help. If you’re consistently struggling with sleep issues, it could be time to reach out to a healthcare professional such as your GP. They should be able to give you some personalised advice and suggest some treatment options that might be handy moving forwards.

does the moon actually impact our sleep??? our final thoughts

At the moment, scientific evidence to support the link between the lunar phases and our sleep patterns is still being researched and discovered. And yet, many of us swear by the lunar lullaby effect. Be it the moon's gravitational pull, the brightness of the night sky during some phases (especially full moons), or simply another placebo effect, there's no denying that this mysterious connection has piqued our interest!

So, next time you find yourself tossing and turning during a full moon, remember that you are not alone. And always be sure to check that the tossing and turning isn’t actually the result of having an unsupportive mattress, or a lack-lustre bed frame! Sweet dreams, moon gazers!