Scientific studies have found that the moon, the moon’s light, and lunar cycles can affect people’s sleep.
The presence of a full moon can even impact the amount and quality of sleep a person gets. Many people find their sleep disrupted or altered when a full moon approaches.
Reasons for the moon’s effect on sleep cycles mostly range from the amount of light present at night to minor changes in gravity and electromagnetism.
Do Full Moons Affect Sleep?
The full moon affects our sleep, just as it impacts many other parts of the natural world.
According to Biological Science, lunar cycles have been shown to affect many natural phenomena, including variations in tree diameter and animal reproductive patterns.
Science Advances found that the lunar cycle influences our ability to sleep, even in areas where artificial light is prominent. The team monitored 3 indigenous communities in Argentina over 2 months:
- Community with no electricity.
- Limited access to electricity.
- An urban environment with full electrical access.
Despite the differing conditions and levels of artificial vs. natural light, each community showed the same basic oscillation patterns in sleep during the moon’s 29.5-day cycle.
Sleep duration varied by 20 to 90 minutes, and bedtime oscillated by 30 to 80 minutes.
Interestingly, the study found that variations in sleep length were most pronounced in the 3-5 day window before the full moon. In this 3-5 day period, participants went to bed earlier and slept longer.
All participants found that the moon’s phases impacted their sleeping patterns.
However, those without electricity were most affected. This ties into the theory that the light created by a waxing or full moon influences how much sleep and the quality of sleep we get.
However, there are undoubtedly other factors, as even participants in cities were affected.
Does a Full Moon Affect Babies’ Sleep?
A full moon does affect babies’ sleep. However, the impact is minimal, and there’s uncertainty about whether the variance is strong enough to have medical or clinical significance.
If you have a baby, it’s likely to get 1% less sleep during a full moon and around 1% more when there’s a new moon. However, there’s no proof that the phases impact energy or activity during the day.
Research into the impact of lunar cycles on children and babies is limited.
Nonetheless, there have been some controlled studies. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario examined a multinational, cross-sectional group of children and babies from 12 countries.
All children experienced some variance in their sleep during the lunar cycle. Unlike adults, it accounted for an average of 5 minutes less sleep during the full moon and 5 minutes more during the new moon.
This was most pronounced during new and full moon appearances, which differed from adults.
Why Is It Hard To Sleep During A Full Moon?
Several hypotheses surround why we find it harder to sleep around the time of a full moon. However, the following reasons have been identified and studied by researchers:
- An increase in natural light at night.
- Variance in electromagnetism.
- The way that lunar cycles impact gravity.
It’s no secret that light affects the human body, helping it maintain its ‘internal clock.’
Circadian rhythms (our internal clocks) are sensitive to natural factors, like light, and impact the hormones associated with wakefulness and sleep.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders stated that light levels affect sleep length and quality.
Moonlight has less than 10% of the strength of sunlight and is less potent than artificial lighting. So, moonlight can’t be the only reason we achieve less sleep when there’s a full moon.
People will most likely experience the effects before the full moon. If this were the case, those living in rural areas without electricity would be most severely impacted.
This is among the reasons scientists believe the moon impacts electromagnetism and gravity. As the moon makes its orbit of the Earth each month, it passes through the magnetotail to reach its full phase.
According to NASA, this leads to it becoming negatively charged. One theory is that the Earth experiences fluctuations because the moon’s cycle affects our biological rhythms.
This impacts people’s sleep due to our sensitivity to low-level geomagnetic changes and variations.
For example, other geomagnetic events (like the aurora borealis/australis and geomagnetic storms) have been tenuously connected to other physical reactions (like changes in blood pressure and heart rate).
Reasons for Sleeplessness During the Full Moon
The moon has a substantial impact on the world’s gravity and even impacts the tides. As everything is affected by gravity, it makes sense that humans are, along with our biological rhythms.
According to Current Biology, the theory that the moon’s gravitational pull impacts human health is that the body is mostly water.
After all, the moon’s gravitational pull is proven to have a powerful effect on water. Of course, the impact of gravitational pull on humans would be small and remains estimated.
The likely reason for the reduction in sleep length and quality around the time of the full moon is a mix of these factors. No scientific evidence suggests that one cause alone is important enough.
Does a Full Moon Affect Dreams?
The moon has been linked to people’s dreams in many ways, but there’s little supporting evidence.
For example, astrologists believe the moon and stars can impact dreams and their meanings. However, this doesn’t explain how the full moon might affect the way we dream.
Some psychologists have studied the link between the moon and dreams. One study analyzed the experiences of 1,000 people, identifying a change in their dreams when there was a full moon.
It was found that many people recorded having bizarre dreams. However, whether psychological perceptions about the full moon or something else are causing dreams is unclear.
Full Moon Insomnia Cures
Some people find that a full moon is disruptive and prevents sleep.
This difficulty sleeping is unlikely caused by normal variances due to lunar cycles. If your sleeping troubles are localized around this period, certain things can help.
Getting a restful night’s sleep before the full moon is a matter of good sleep hygiene.
For example, minimizing exposure to blue light and technological devices for an hour before bed could help you sleep sooner. What’s more, this could allow you to achieve more restful sleep.
Evidence suggests that white noise or rain sounds aid sleep. The predictable, steady noise these sounds bring may induce a meditative state, ensuring the body soon enters restful sleep.
Introducing better sleep hygiene as the full moon approaches may ease the issues you experience.