With this month’s full moon (Sturgeon Moon) due tomorrow night, many of us might be anticipating a rather strange night’s sleep. If so, don’t worry – it’s not just you!!
Many studies have been conducted about the effect of a full moon on our sleep patterns, with almost each one concluding that the full moon disturbs a good night’s sleep. Research has found that people generally take longer to fall asleep, spend less time in deep sleep, sleep for less time and report poor sleep during this moon phase.
So, why does the moon have such an effect on our sleep??
Lots of suggestions have been made about why a full moon affects our bedtime routine. Some blame the extra moonlight shining in through our windows as a reason for poor sleep and others suggest it’s an evolutionary reason dating back from our caveman ancestors when we would sleep less during a full moon as a survival technique as we were much more noticeable to predators during these lighter nights.
In the world of astrology, however, the fact that a full moon affects our sleep is absolutely no surprise. The gravitational pull from the moon controls the tides of the ocean on earth, and as we humans are made up of up to 70% water, it seems like there is little surprise that our human bodies should be affected by lunar phases too. This so-called “lunar effect” has also been linked to changes in women’s monthly cycles as well as bad moods and aggressive behaviour. (The term ‘lunatic’ is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘moonstruck’)
Is it normal to have lots more vivid dreams too?
Well, what is normal nowadays anyway? But, yes it seems that many people have much more time in the REM stage of sleep during a full moon, meaning that they spend more time dreaming about the weird and the wonderful! Whether it’s sailing around the world with Elton John or reliving a slightly altered version of a date you had with an ex-partner ten years ago, there seems to be no rhyme or reason why some dreams occur.
Phycologist Professor Richard Wiseman carried out dream research on 1000 volunteers, and believes that when there is a full moon, the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, is affected. This in turn disturbs our dreams and we spend our nights working through our concerns more intensely.
How to prepare for a calmer night’s sleep… moon or no moon!
If you seem to be affected by the moon’s phases, then it might be worth spending a bit of extra time preparing for bedtime, ensuring that you feel calm and chilled before you hit the sheets. Give your body the best possible chance of a relaxing night.
Take time for a nice long bath, do some gentle yoga practice, rub some nice lavender oil on your pressure points, take some long deep breaths and maybe even listen to some calming music or a sleep podcast as you lay in bed.