Full Moon, Broken Sleep


From an increase in emergency room visits to an uptick in babies being born, the human body and human behavior is affected by the full moon.  For years, this phenomenon was the realm of superstition.  But new studies support what ER nurses and physicians have always known: strange stuff happens with the full moon.

A ten-year-old study that has recently been revisited indicates that the full moon may be the root cause of sleep disruption.   Study participants had 30% less deep sleep during the full moon than on nights on either side of the full moon.  That’s a pretty significant shift!

Regular readers of OnBalance know I’m a stickler for sleep.  I believe it is the missing link for most people in their search for a more balanced, healthier lifestyle.

One of the best ways to encourage better sleep is to prepare your body and your mind for sleep.  While staying away from blue light screens (laptops, e-readers, and even televisions) for two hours before bedtime is ideal, that’s not a realistic adaptation for most people.  You can still create a wind-down ritual that will serve your sleep goals well.

The easiest habit to implement is relaxing breathwork.  The yogic practice of pranyama can be quite simple.  Try inhaling for a count of 4, then exhaling for a count of 4.  On the next breath, inhale for 5 and exhale for 5.  Keep adding one count to each breath until you get to 8.  Maintain that deep breath pattern, visualizing the breath filling and then leaving your body.

While the more popular sun salutation sequence is used to invigorate the body, the moon salutation chandra namaskar is a series of asana that can calm, focus, and bring the body to rest.  If done during the full moon, one might find it brings on more sound sleep.  The postures are simple enough even for a beginner to do.  Yoga Journal has an outstanding explanation of the history and process of chandra namaskar.

The full moon is tomorrow night– give these tips a try and see how you sleep.

Good health and great happiness to you!


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