Every now and then I have these restless nights. I toss and turn and it takes ages for me to fall asleep. The next day I feel tired and my brain can be best described as Christmas lights: not bright, yet very cosy and warm. I searched for a reason why I couldn't sleep and up until now, I didn't really find one.
While I was doing something else completely, I stumbled upon a blog in which the writer briefly mentioned having restless nights before and during the full moon. It intrigued me and I started reading about the moon and its effect on people. There are lots of weird spiritual websites and books that are just a tad too much for me, which made me decide to find my own path, backed up by science and down-to-earth common sense. So, if you are not so much into the whole spiritual mumbo jumbo, join me on my travels to the moon. I promise to keep both feet firmly on the ground. 😉
So, what is this moon thing really?
The moon is a big rock that is orbiting Earth. Just like we are circling the Sun, the Moon circles our little blue planet. It takes the moon about a month to fully circle around the earth. In doing so its appearance seems different every day. This has to do with the positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon. If you haven't a clue and can't remember what you learned in primary school, click here.
The moon is the cause of the tides in the ocean. Due to the magnetic pull of the Moon, water from the oceans is being pulled towards the moon. The earth's magnetic power pulls the water back and spreads it equally over the planet. This constant pull causes the tides. There are people who believe that because we humans consist of 50-70% water we also feel this pull of the moon. As there is no scientific evidence I cannot agree with this statement. There are however other ways the Moon can have an effect on people.
More light means being in danger.
A group of Swiss biologists discovered a noteworthy change in sleep during a very small study of a group of 33 people. In this study, the biologists weren't observing the effects of the moon on people specifically, so the findings can be considered objective. The group stayed in a building without windows as to rule out the influence of light or lack thereof.
This is what they found:
"We found that around full moon, electroencephalogram (EEG) delta activity during NREM sleep, an indicator of deep sleep, decreased by 30%, time to fall asleep increased by 5 min, and EEG-assessed total sleep duration was reduced by 20 min. These changes were associated with a decrease in subjective sleep quality and diminished endogenous melatonin levels." ("Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep,” 2013)
A solid explanation for these interesting findings hasn't been found yet but the scientists suspect it could have to do with the fact that in the past, people were less protected by darkness when there was a full moon which meant that they had to be alert, even while sleeping hence the less time spent in a deep sleep. This gives us reason to believe humans also have a Lunar rhythm.
The study conducted is obviously too small and should be repeated with a larger group. It did however make me wonder about my sleep. As it happens I have a sports watch that also records my sleeping patterns. I don't always wear it while sleeping but it does shed some light on the matter.
This month, apart from a mega thunderstorm in the middle of the night that obviously woke me up, I slept fairly well except for the night of the full moon. I also checked the month of January and here I notice the same pattern. In the week of the full moon, there were 3 restless nights, according to my watch. So could I be that sensitive and maybe even primitive still? Am I still somewhat of a neanderthal who thinks they are sleeping in an open field or cave? I wonder...
Not just full moon
In the months February, March and April I not only slept restlessly during a full moon but I had trouble falling asleep roughly two weeks later. I then compared this to the moon calendar. The dates fall within the New moon period. The effects of the New Moon cannot be scientifically backed up but when I google around, lots of "facts" pop up.
During New moon:
- Seeds and plants grow faster.
- Maternity wards are packed with mums giving birth
- You experience unrest that comes with a lot of energy (hence the not being able to fall asleep)
- you can come up with new ideas and feel the urge to clean/tidy.
As a former teacher, I used to ask my colleagues if it were a full moon the day when my pupils were extremely restless or just wouldn't want to settle down. It makes me wonder if there is some truth to this.
To explore this some more, I started reading Moonology. A book about the moon(cycles) and its influence on your body and mind. I am now reading chapter 2 about the different "shapes" of the moon. It does still sound way high up the spiritual ladder but I decided to keep an open mind and read on.
In my next Moon travel, I'll be explaining the moon cycle and the meaning behind this.
I would love to hear how you feel about this all. Do you experience similar things like restlessness or difficulty falling asleep? Feel free to share.
Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep. (2013). Current Biology, https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(13)00754-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.06.029
Published by: SanenChris in Uncategorized