October Full Moon: Hunter's Moon to peak this week and it could disturb your sleep
The October Full Moon will reach its peak on Wednesday.
Although the Moon will technically be full at 3.56pm on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 20, it still appears full on a few days either side and a disturbed night's sleep is often associated with the Full Moon.
This the tenth Full Moon of 2021 and is known as the Hunter's Moon because according to The Old Farmer's Almanac it is the time of year in which people would go out to hunt for animals in preparation for the winter ahead. It is also known as the Travel Moon and the Dying Grass Moon.
Ever noticed that you struggle to fall or stay asleep during periods of a full moon? This is surprisingly common, and has even been tagged as 'lunar insomnia' by people who suffer from it.
While it could be a coincidence that that your periods of restlessness seem to occur during a full moon, there could actually be a link between the lunar cycle and your body clock. This isn't surprising considering the moon has long been known to affect many processes on Earth. From controlling the tides to impacting animal behavioural patterns, the moon could have a much deeper link to our life here on this planet than we might commonly think. But could it be responsible for your sleepless nights?
How can the moon affect your sleep?
First of all, does lunar insomnia actually exist? A Swiss study published in the Journal of Sleep Research looked into the link between lunar phases and sleep and concluded that it may be down to our human biology. Scientists have suggested that both men and women have a hormone cycle that coincides with the lunar cycle, and it's this fluctuation in hormones that causes sleep disruption.
However, it's possible that increased light from the full moon could also be responsible for your reduced sleep. A 2021 study on indigenous Toba/Qom communities in Argentina found that participants stayed awake for longer and had a shorter sleep duration during a full moon. They suggested that this could be down to the extra amount of light that occurs during these periods, which allowed the community to continue with their tasks well into the night.
It's entirely possible that this displays an evolutionary link between sleep and the moon. Since communities without access to artificial light rely on the moon to control their sleep phases, it's possible that we still have this link in our own bodies, even in urbanised areas.
Coast Road Furniture offers these helpful tips for getting a little more shut eye if you're affected.
How to get enough sleep during a Full Moon
Whatever the correlation is between the Moon and your sleep patterns, getting a bad night's rest certainly isn't ideal. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to minimise the impact, so you can get a better night's sleep, no matter the lunar phase.
Since it's entirely possible that the moonlight is responsible for keeping you awake, it makes sense to minimise this light as much as you can. Investing in a pair of blackout curtains or a blind will help keep this light out of your bedroom, plus it will block out any extra artificial light such as the glow of streetlamps. An eye mask is another great solution.
Don't forget, you may also have a few light distractions in your bedroom that could be keeping you awake too. To get the best night's rest, switch off all your devices and chargers that could keep you awake.
Try something relaxing
Your mind and body can be very susceptible to the placebo effect. If you go to bed expecting to get a bad night's sleep due to the full moon, this thinking can cause you to have a restless night. Setting yourself up to have a good night's sleep can help to combat this, so try to incorporate something relaxing into your bedtime routine. This can be anything from taking a warm bubble bath, to reading a book, or spending a bit of extra time on a soothing skincare routine. Anything you can do to help your mind and body unwind will help.
Invest in a comfortable bed
Tossing and turning in bed? It might not be the moon at all. An old, worn, or simply uncomfortable mattress can have a significant impact on your sleep quality, so it's important that you invest in the right one for you to get a good night's rest.
To choose the best mattress, take a look at the firmness rating, as this is what will determine the level of support your body receives. The right firmness rating for you can depend entirely on your preference, but your sleeping position can be a good guide. For back and front sleepers, we usually suggest a medium to firm mattress, while side sleepers should look for something a little softer. Choosing a mattress with extra features, such as an orthopaedic mattress or one with a cooling gel incorporated into the filling, is also an option to consider.
Interiors director at Coast Road Furniture Alison Hughes said: "While there may not be a clear cause for lunar insomnia, there's no denying that some people do find it more difficult to get some shut-eye during a full moon. Whether it's due to evolutionary factors or the increased amount of light, taking steps to get a better night's rest can do wonders for your sleep health during this time.
"Blackout blinds, curtains, and eye masks can be great for blocking out light distractions that may have you tossing and turning during the night. It's also vital that you invest in the right kind of mattress and bedding. Something that supports you at all your pressure points is perfect, as it'll help relieve and prevent back pain that can impact your sleep.
"Sometimes, even just the thought of getting a bad night's rest can be disruptive, so having a calming bedtime routine can also help put you in the right mindset to relax and drift off. Soothing scents like lavender and chamomile can help, so you could look for a candle, room spray, bubble bath, or skincare that includes these plants as an ingredient.
"Even if you don't suffer from lunar insomnia, creating the perfect sleep environment and having a relaxing routine can help you get a better night's sleep. Give one or two of them a go and you could wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to start your day."
If you take a picture of the full Hunter's Moon send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll create a cosmic gallery.