Posted by Dr. Alda Ngo
There was a supermoon a couple of nights ago, which means that the full moon was the nearest that it comes to the Earth in its elliptical orbit. This doesn’t happen often, and results in the moon appearing bigger and brighter than usual.
What an object of intrigue the moon is, with its clear influence over our oceanic tides, we have long been mystified about its influence over our own biological tides – particularly our sleep and mental-health patterns.
Are you as pooped as I am? Maybe from overall mental-emotional exhaustion, or the inability to be as active in quarantine? All I know is that I didn’t sleep well that supermoon night, after finding myself mysteriously crying as we read ‘Rocks and Minerals of Canada’ at bedtime.
While ER staff swear that the full moon on their nightshift will bring increased lunacy and accidents, studies have found no such correlations.
However, the full moon has been correlated to subjects requiring an extra 5 minutes to fall asleep, a 30% decrease of deep sleep and a decrease in endogenous melatonin levels. One study was conducted under strictly controlled conditions, eliminating exposure and awareness of lunar cycles.
This study points toward an endogenous circalunar rhythm, similar to the circadian (daily) and circannual (seasonal) rhythms.
We are reminded of our human connectedness more than ever right now, and the bigger picture rhythms to which we are beholden.
Supermoon or not friends, try to sleep well. Sleep and the circadian system regulate immunological processes. I know it’s tempting to stay up late these days, but something magical happens in the early hours of nocturnal sleep, when certain immune responses are initiated, playing a role in the formation of immunological memory.
Are you having trouble with sleep? What sleep hygiene routines help you?
Do you have any questions about how we can help you with sleep?