The relationship between insomnia and moon phases has been known for centuries. How do different phases of the moon affect our ability to fall asleep?
The influence of lunar phases on human functioning, including sleep quality, is a topic that often appears in folk beliefs. Our ancestors believed that during the full moon, hidden demons, vampires, witches, and other malevolent forces would awaken and expose us to evil energies. It was believed that during this time, nervous and mental illnesses worsened, sexual energy and fertility increased, and people became more aggressive, irritable, and restless.
How much truth is there in folk beliefs and what does science say about it?
The full moon reduces sleep quality
In 2013, a group of scientists from the University of Basel decided to investigate how the moon affects sleep. They monitored the night sleep of 33 volunteers over a period of 3 years, who were divided into two age groups: 20-31 and 57-74.
The results of the experiment showed that the volunteers slept worse during the full moon, regardless of their age. Their average time to fall asleep was prolonged by 5 minutes, and the duration of sleep was shorter by 20 minutes. These observations were confirmed by the questionnaires filled out by the participants each morning – respondents complained of sleep deprivation and fatigue.
On the other hand, hormonal studies have shown that during the full moon, the body produced less melatonin – a substance that plays the most important role in regulating the daily sleep rhythm.
During the experiment, it was also found that participants had sleep problems not only during the full moon but also in the days before and after the full moon.
Causes of sleep disorders during the full moon
Although there is a connection between the full moon and sleep disorders, scientists still do not have a precise answer to the question of what causes them. The reason is certainly not autosuggestion – Swiss experiment participants slept worse even though they had access to dark, quiet rooms and did not know what phase the moon was currently in.
How to fall asleep faster during the full moon?
Whatever the cause of sleep problems during the full moon, the moon remains in this phase for only 3 days a month. It does not last long enough to cause permanent changes in the sleep-wake cycle.
However, if insomnia is unpleasant for you during this period, you can use these home remedies to fall asleep faster:
- It is worth drinking a glass of cherry juice diluted with water before bed.
- It has been proven to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep by 17 minutes and also deepen and lengthen sleep.
- Another old-fashioned way is to drink a glass of milk or cocoa.
- It contains magnesium, which has a calming effect.
It is also important to avoid exposure to blue light in the evening, which can come from sources such as television screens, computers, or smartphones. Blue light increases brain activity and inhibits the release of melatonin, making it harder for us to fall asleep. Before going to bed, it is better to turn off all devices and spend this time relaxing.