A full moon affecting sleep is a legit thing and October's full moon is, unfortunately, no exception. It's called 'lunar insomnia', and there are various scientific and environmental factors that come into play.
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Ahead of the Full Hunter's Moon on 20 October, sleep experts at MattressNextDay teamed up with astrologer Inbaal Honigman to explain how the full moon can mess with your sleep, and what we can do to make sure we get a good night's kip.
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How the full moon might affect sleep
1. You may struggle to fall asleep
Inbaal claims this comes down to the rise and fall of water, which disturbs our ability to doze off: "The moon controls the tides, pulling water towards the shore and releasing it back again. The average body is made up of 70% water. If the moon can move whole oceans, imagine the effect it has on our bodies when trying to relax."
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Sleep scientists in Switzerland also confirmed that we struggle to nod off during a full moon with their own findings, whereby on the night of a full moon, it took the average person an extra five minutes to fall asleep.
2. You may get less sleep on the whole
The same scientists in Switzerland found that the average person gets 20 minutes less kip on the night of a full moon. Why? They also found that on the days leading up to the full moon, both men and women had lower levels of melatonin, the hormone essential for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. So it makes sense that we might not catch as many Zs.
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3. You may spend less time in deep sleep
Find that you wake up feeling groggier than usual the morning after a full moon? Even if you managed to nod off straight away? There's a reason: another study found that during a full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 per cent, which is when the real recuperation happens.
How to prevent a bad night sleep during a Full Moon
1. Minimise light exposure
The experts at MattressNextDay and astrologer Inbaal say that history suggests it was initially the light of the full moon that kept people awake, which makes sense since light is what regulates the body's circadian rhythm – your sleep-wake cycle. The later we expose ourselves to light, the harder it will be to drop off, so gradually start to dim and limit your lighting as bedtime comes around.
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2. Avoid using your phone for three hours before bed
"The blue light emitted by your phone can trick your mind into thinking that it's daytime despite it being dark outside," say the experts. They recommend using night mode on your phone if you really can't go without using it, but in an ideal world, you'd avoid using your phone for this time altogether.
3. Plan a relaxing night
The more you anticipate a bad night's sleep, the more likely it is to happen, since your body will produce more of the stress hormone, cortisol, which keeps you awake at night. Make your afternoon as relaxing as possible, with "anything from yoga to stretching, meditating to deep breathing, journaling or having a hot bath".
4. Play rain sounds at night
According to the experts, "steady rainfall noises have been proven to help lure the brain into falling asleep". The predictable, calming, stable and non-threatening nature of the sounds help "induce a meditative state that brings on relaxation".
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What is the Hunter's Moon?
Astrologer Inbaal says, "The full moon in October is known as the Hunter's Moon. In September, the animals were too skinny for the Native hunters and by November, the cold may have got them. So, the hunting begins in October, by the light of the full moon which made it easier to spy on their prey."
When is the next Full Moon?
The Hunter's Moon will peak at 3:55pm on 20 October 2021, for UK residents.
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