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How the Moon Affects Sleep

by | May 10, 2019 | Adult Sleep, General

When we think of celestial power, most likely we think of the sun:  solar power, warming the earth, helping things grow. But what about the moon? Believe it or not, the moon is responsible for a variety of things you might not have considered, besides the ebb and flow and tides, the moon, especially the full moon, has been linked to spikes in crime, an increase in animal bites, and episodes of insanity. (No wonder it’s called lunacy!) But did you know the full moon can actually affect the quality of your sleep? Next time you wake up more tired than usual, take a look at where the moon is in its cycle. If it was a full moon the night before, it may be to blame for your issues!

Moonlight Becomes You

In a recent laboratory study in Switzerland, researchers monitored volunteers’ quality of sleep to determine if the lunar cycle impacted their sleep cycle. After monitoring and recording the volunteers’ sleep patterns over a period of days, researchers found that, when there was a full moon, the volunteers on average took five minutes longer to fall asleep, slept for 20 minutes less, and were in a deep sleep for almost one-third less time than usual.

Interestingly, the scientists found that the drop in quality sleep did not have to do with the volunteers actually seeing the moon or its light while they slept. In fact, none of the volunteers even knew the moon was full, nor could they see it from where they slept. The study’s profound findings show that the human body is naturally attuned to the lunar cycle in many ways that we have yet to fully discover.

Midnight Strolls

Many people believe the full moon also causes more individuals to sleep walk. While the exact cause of the connection between human sleep and the lunar cycle is unknown, it may be that the human body responds to certain geophysical rhythms of the moon.

Good Night Moon

While there isn’t much we can do about poor quality sleep during full moons, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips that may help you sleep better.

  • Don’t consume caffeine in the late-afternoon or evening to prevent it from keeping you awake.
  • Get in tune with your circadian rhythm to establish a sleep schedule that is easy to maintain.
  • An hour or so before sleeping, don’t use electronic devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The blue light emitting from these devices throws off your circadian rhythm, making your brain think it’s daytime.
  • Sleep in a comfortable environment with a good bed and pillows. A relaxing environment and good bed can help improve your sleep quality.
  • Set your alarm for when you want to wake up. Hitting the snooze for an hour won’t help you get a good night’s sleep. Avoid the snooze and get quality sleep while you can.

It’s not a big deal if you sleep poorly once in a while, but if you notice it happening more frequently, there may be an underlying issue. If you notice you are sleeping poorly, it’s time to see a physician who specializes in sleep medicine. Whether you need to change a few things in your sleep routine or if you think you may have a sleep disorder, a sleep medicine physician will be able to examine you and recommend the right changes or treatments to get you sleeping comfortably again.

Gingras Sleep Medicine provides quality comprehensive, innovative, and compassionate sleep care to adults and children of all ages. As an exclusive sleep medicine practice, Gingras Sleep Medicine specializes and focuses on sleep only. If you or a loved one are having sleeping problems, call 704-944-0562 to make an appointment today. You may also request an appointment online.