From the very beginning of humanity, people have had a strong tie to the moon. Whether it’s studying it or worshipping it, we’ve found ourselves drawn to it time and time again. And, there could be evidence to suggest that our ties to the moon go much deeper than a simple interest.
Many people believe that their health and behaviour is controlled by lunar phases, and have noticed certain health symptoms flaring up during the time of a full moon. Most commonly, people notice symptoms up to three days before and three days after a full moon, as well as on the night of the full moon itself. But is the moon actually to blame?
Here, The Organic Pharmacy
looks at the links between the lunar cycle and the human body, so you can better prepare for a full moon.
We’ve been on this earth for millions of years, so it’s no surprise that our bodies have adapted a natural clock in line with the sun and moon. This is called your circadian rhythm, and it uses the light from the sun to regulate your internal body clock which, in turn, keeps the rest of your body in check (Sleep Foundation).
A full moon can brighten the sky ever so slightly (by around 0.05–0.1 lux), while a supermoon can brighten it even more (by about 0.32 lux), according to a report published in Astronomy & Geophysics. This extra sunlight could throw your circadian rhythm out of sync, meaning your body could find it harder to fall asleep at the right time.
According to a study published in the journal Current Biology, there is a link between sleep and the full moon. Participants of the study found it harder to fall asleep, spent less time in a deep sleep, and slept for around 20 minutes less during the period of a full moon.
More recently, in 2021, scientists discovered a link between the lunar cycle and sleep in indigenous Toba/Qom communities in Argentina (Science Advances). They discovered that, on nights with a full moon, the Toba/Qom participants showed later sleep times and a shorter sleep duration. This is as a result of the extra moonlight available on nights with a full moon, which allowed them to continue their daily activities for longer.
Immune system and parasites
Getting enough sleep is essential for your body to be able to regulate hormones such as melatonin. While this hormone is commonly referred to as the sleep hormone, it also plays a part in regulating your immune system (NCBI). So, a lack of sleep could lead to a reduced immune response and increased inflammation. If you’ve noticed bloating, allergy flare-ups, or flu-like symptoms during a full moon, it could be due to a lack of sleep and compromised immune system.
However, it’s also possible that you could have gut parasites that your body is finding difficult to fight off during these periods. While it’s perfectly healthy to have certain types of bacteria in your gut, you could end up accidentally ingesting not-so-good bacteria or parasites on unwashed fruits and vegetables, or raw fish and meat. This can also cause symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, rashes, nausea, diarrhoea, and flu-like symptoms.
If you’ve noticed these symptoms during a full moon, it’s best to consult your doctor to find the cause.
You may have heard people complain of full moon migraines. Sufferers claim that the moon is to blame for their debilitating headaches. But can the moon actually be the cause?
Some people tend to notice their headaches getting worse or more frequent around the time of a full moon. But, while the lunar cycle might not be to blame directly, it could be down to a lack of sleep.
The extra light emitted from a full moon can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, and you may find it more difficult to fall and stay asleep during this period. And, if you’ve been tossing and turning all night, you may suffer from tension headaches the next day.
Ever get those days where you just can’t stop eating? You’re not alone, and it could be linked to the moon. Excessive hunger may not be directly linked to lunar phases, but, once again, could be thanks to a lack of sleep.
Getting regular amounts of rest is vital to keep our bodies in check, including our hormones, according to a report published in the International Journal of Endocrinology. When we get too little sleep, our hormone levels can be thrown out of balance, particularly those linked to metabolism like leptin and ghrelin, which can lead to increased appetite (NCBI). And, considering the extra light from the full moon can affect your sleep, it could be possible that a lack of sleep during the full moon can lead to overeating the next day.
A full moon could also have an impact on your kidneys, according to a study published in the Urology Journal. Scientists found a correlation between kidney stone pain and a full moon, suggesting that the lunar cycle could have a deeper impact on your body.
Although the cause of this link is unknown, some scientists suggest that this correlation could be due to fluid balances (NCBI). And, considering the moon’s gravitational pull can control the tides, and our bodies are made up of 60% water, it could be possible that our body’s fluid levels can also be controlled by the lunar cycle.
“While scientists are still trying to get to the bottom of how the lunar cycle impacts human health and behaviour, there’s significant evidence to suggest that the symptoms many people have been experiencing during a full moon are actually down to a lack of sleep.
“The lunar cycle is a natural regulator of the human body, so it makes sense to use natural remedies to solve any issues. If you’re noticing any symptoms around the time of a full moon, taking natural supplements, along with having a healthy balanced diet, can help. For example, detox and digestive supplements can alleviate bloating and promote liver and kidney health, and immune system supplements and tonics can help give you that extra little boost.
“Of course, you should also try fixing the problem at its source. Getting a better night’s rest during these periods could help to alleviate symptoms such as headaches, increased appetite, and symptoms associated with a low immune system. If you’re struggling to drift off during a full moon, consider taking natural health supplements containing stress-relieving ingredients, like valerian, that are designed to aid sleep.”
Margo Marrone, Co-Founder of The Organic Pharmacy
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