This Sunday brings the next full moon, and given the time of year, there’s always the chance on that night, your dreams will include some spooky, Halloween-leaning frights. If not, though, you’re still likely to spend part of the night tossing and turning, because according to recent research, full moon effects on sleep are real and disruptive.
Sleep-tech company Dreem recently conducted a study for which it analyzed a million nights of sleep from thousands of participants, CNBC reports. Some findings skewed obvious (like, it’s not wildly shocking that solo sleepers get 20 percent more deep sleep, ostensibly because they don’t have to worry about being elbowed mid-snooze, #amirite?) while others were far more illuminating. For instance, take the finding that full moons are grade-A troublemakers when it comes to your REM game. On nights with a full moon, people required 9 percent more time to fall asleep, and clocked 7 percent less deep sleep once they were successfully snoozing.
And if you’re thinking the full moon effects on sleep are simple to explain—that it’s the increased brightness tampering with your circadian rhythm—your line of thinking makes sense. After all, experts do recommend total darkness (or at the very least, some middle-ground red lighting) for optimizing sleep health. But the study found that even when the full moon took to the skies on particularly cloudy nights, sleep suffered for the participants.
The full moon is historically associated with lunacy, disorder, danger, and bad behavior. So when one rises, that perception of anxiety can cause some restless nights.
Rather, according to Quentin Soulet de Brugiere, co-founder and CTO of Dreem, the cultural association with the full moon is what’s harming our sleep. That is, the full moon is historically associated with lunacy, disorder, danger, and bad behavior. So when one rises, that perception of anxiety can cause some restless nights.
“I have clients who tell me they feel the effect of full moons in relation to not being able to sleep in particular,” astrologer Courtney O’Reilly previously told Well+Good. “Some also say they feel a little drained or depleted.”
So how does a tired, desperate-for-sleep human being get a good night’s rest against the full moon’s wrath? At risk of sounding cliché, the name of the game is self care, self care, self care. Sure, full moons can be a great time for celebration and partying, if you want to lean into the chaos, but if you have a big presentation coming up and can’t afford to lose any zzz’s, gift yourself a night in. Don’t overload your schedule, diffuse some lavender, and hygge it up as best as you can.