How the lunar cycle can affect your quality of life and what to do about it
There's a full moon rising tonight. Aside from the awe-inspiring beauty of witnessing a celestial body rising in the horizon, all aglow and larger than life, and the practicality of the moon as nature's overhead nightlight, here's why you should care about the full moon and it's many cycles:
It is common belief that the moon has the power to affect our moods. Its gravitational force pulls at the ocean of our minds, just like the tides at sea (figuratively speaking). Although evidence from studies clearly shows the lunar cycles have an impact on mood, scientists have yet to identify the mechanism that causes this. A popular theory attributes this to tidal forces but new research opens the door to the idea of magnetic currents. What's clear is how little we really know about the forces of nature, such as the moon, and their impact on human physiology and psychology. Still, it would be a worthwhile exercise to track the lunar cycles against our own wellbeing. Keeping a lunar cycle wellness journal is one way to do this and would allow us to plan some mindful breathing, aromatheraphy and other mood enhancing rituals during the peaks and valleys of our minds' highs and lows.
Of the few, well documented scientific studies that have been conducted, one such study clearly shows that full moons affect sleep patterns. Patients in this group took longer to fall asleep and slept less around a full moon. Some evidence also suggests that they experienced about 30% less deep sleep. It should be noted that the patients were not exposed to the full moon, ruling out any disturbances from light. Sleep disruptions have a huge impact on mood, performance and overall heath, so it's important to understand the lunar effect and plan ahead. This may be as simple as going to bed earlier a few days before, during, and after a full moon and eating some cherries or pistachios before bed to ensure a good night's sleep.
One very intriguing area of research on plants has shown that the moon's gravitational pull impacts the plant cells' water channels - moving water molecules from inside to outside of the cells. Could the same be true for the aquaporins (the water channels) in our skin cells? If one were to extrapolate, this would mean that, like the ocean at high tide, the water molecules in our skin would rise to the surface and then recede during low tide. This could have important implications for our skin care - understanding when our skin needs the most hydration and when to increase our barrier protection to prevent dehydration. We already know that skin cells follow a chronobiology (a circadian rhythm) that regulates when specific functions, like DNA renewal and collagen production, are performed. We use our knowledge of the skin's chronobiology in our product application recommendations, such as hydrating in the afternoons and evenings when skin is the most dehydrated. If the lunar pull also has an impact on hydration, should we be looking at tidal charts too? I think we will. Here's a helpful resource for that: NOAA Tidal Predictions.
Also established is the lunar impact on our fertility. The rhythm of our menstrual cycle is directly influenced by the moon, yet we don't know exactly how this works either. Theories suggest that hormones are also susceptible to the moon's sway. This is a critical area of research for women's health and human reproduction as a whole. We'll dive further into this in a separate post but for this topic, it's relevant to mention the relationship between the skin and the menstrual cycle - hormones play an active role in symptoms like excess sebum, blemishes and other disturbances in the balance of the skin - and by the connection established above, leads us back to the lunar cycles.
So, once again, we find ourselves gravitating towards the moon for answers. What a fascinating new frontier to explore. We are enthralled and eager to learn more. For now, we plan to enjoy the magic of the rising moon and bathe in its glory (literally and figuratively), all the more mindful of its powerful effects on our wellbeing.