Did you have a headache, migraine, or feel just plain lousy early last week? I feel ya my friend and the full moon on Sunday night might be to blame.
There’s something about a full moon that just doesn’t seem to sit right with a lot of people. And by a lot of people, I mean those like myself who suffer from headaches, migraines, and other various types of pain.
But does the full moon really cause these issues? Or is it all in our heads? (Pun intended)
In this blog post, I’ll take a look at the phases of the moon and how they may be related to headaches and pain in general. I will also offer up some tips on how to deal with full moon-related symptoms you might experience.
So whether you’re someone who typically gets headaches during certain times of the month or someone who experiences other kinds of pain during a full moon, this post is for you.
Let’s dive in!
The Lunar Cycle
First things first: let’s go back to seventh-grade science and refresh ourselves on the lunar cycle. This is when the moon orbits around Earth and goes through different phases, eight in total.
The moon phases include the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full Moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on four in which the moon cycle can affect our body systems the most.
- New Moon
The new moon is when the moon is completely dark and it’s difficult to see it in the sky. (It’s also the name of the second book/movie in the series of Twilight! You know you saw it, don’t kid yourself!)
- Waxing Crescent
The waxing crescent phase is when the moon starts to become visible again and it looks like a crescent shape. (The half-moon shape we’re familiar with)
- Full Moon
The full moon is, well, when the moon is full and bright. Wink 😉
- Waning Crescent
And finally, the waning crescent phase is when the moon starts to become less bright and it looks like a crescent shape again.
The lunar cycle lasts for 29.5 days on average, but it can range from 29 to 30 days.
So what does this have to do with headaches & pain? Let’s dig deeper to see the link…
Full Moon Headache
Some people say they tend to get headaches or experience other types of pain during certain cycles of the moon. For example, you might get a headache right before the full moon or during the waning crescent phase.
There’s no denying that the full moon is a pretty powerful event. The gravitational pull changes the ocean tides and alters atmospheric pressure.
Many believe these shifts contribute to head pain, changes in behavior, and even blood pressure modifications!
Does the full moon really cause medical and physical health?
While there’s not any scientific evidence to support the correlation per se, that doesn’t mean it’s not true for a lot of people, (especially headache & migraine patients!)
In fact, a lot of people swear by increased pain each month during a full moon – And I am one of them!
So, what should you look for?
Combating Full Moon Headaches & Migraines
If you find that you tend to get headaches and/or significant pain around the time of the full moon, there are a few possible explanations and things to look out for.
Increased Light Sensitivity
First, it could be that you’re more sensitive to light during this time. The bright moonlight might be triggering your headaches. Even with the blinds shut and wearing an eye mask at bedtime, our bodies are still affected by the external evening brightness.
Poor Quality Sleep
Speaking of light… The moon can affect melatonin production because it’s a reflection of the sun, therefore it decreases our body’s natural signals to fall asleep (and stay asleep!)
A new study published in Scientists Advances revealed that people sleep about 52 mins less on nights before a full moon – And go to bed about 30 minutes later.
And we know a lack of sleep causes a whole slew of health issues!
Barometric Pressure Shifts
It’s possible that the change in barometric pressure associated with a full moon could be a major culprit of discomfort for a lot of us.
When the air pressure shifts up or down, our bodies can feel the internal pressure build up which can cause a headache or migraine.
A 2015 study in Trusted Source shared research that even small decreases in barometric pressure-induced migraines.
Note: While any shift in pressure can trigger pain, it’s when the barometric pressure decreases that can wrecks the most havoc!
Hormonal Fluctuations (Women)
Next, speaking of cycles, many women find that the moon can influence their menstrual cycle. Lucky us, huh ladies? As a matter of fact, many women even cycle with the moon!
If this is you, and you have your ovulation period aligned with the full moon – it’s a double whammy on your physical health each month.
We already know hormonal shifts are a well-known trigger for migraines and headaches. (And pair that with the full moon – yikes, bear down for a long week sis!)
Elevated Stress & Anxiety
Finally, it could just be that you’re more stressed when the moon is fully illuminated. We tend to have a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol during a full moon.
The heightened energy and emotions from this cortisol rise can take a toll on our bodies and minds.
So stay positive and give yourself some grace during this time!
Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash
Reduce Full Moon Headache Symptoms
If you’re someone who gets headaches during a full moon like me, there are a few things you can do to try to ease your symptoms.
First, try to avoid bright lights as much as possible. This means staying indoors as much as possible or wearing sunglasses if you have to go outside. I also highly suggest an eye mark and/or black-out curtains.
Second, when you know the full moon is coming, don’t be afraid to take some ibuprofen or Rx migraine abortives before bed to try to prevent a headache from starting. It’s the absolute worst waking up with a migraine because there’s almost nothing you can do!
Next, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Not only does the entire human body need water, but the brain is also 73% water. Staying hydrated can help reduce the intensity of headaches. (Super important!)
And finally, migraine patients – this one is for you! About 3 days prior to the full moon start taking extra salt and water. For example: before bed, take ¼ tablespoon salt or electrolyte mix such as LMNT with a few sips of water. If you wake up in the middle of the night with pain – same protocol! More salt! Why is this? I’ll explain in upcoming posts!
The Full Moon & Migraines
Migraines are a type of headache that can be even more debilitating than a regular headache. If you’re someone who suffers from migraines, you know just how painful and disruptive they can be.
Migraineurs tend to be more sensitive to environmental variations than everyone else. This is because our hyper-alert brain & body is always on alert. The moon affects our system in a number of ways.
Physical symptoms you might have noticed during full moons (on top of a potential migraine!) include:
- Nerve pain
- Sleep disruptions at night
- Full body pain
- Negative emotions
- Lack of energy
Be proactive & plan ahead
The full moon has long been associated with headaches and migraines. In fact, some people even refer to migraines that occur around the time of the full moon as “lunar migraines” or ‘Moon Sickness’
A study found that people with pre-existing migraines were more likely to experience an attack during the full moon phase than at other times of the month.
And this also often results in emergency treatment because they don’t even ‘see’ it coming!
So, it’s important to plan ahead and prep your body for the moon’s orbit around the earth! I believe tracking your migraines and symptoms in a tracker or calendar is the first step!
I suggest doing so right away to get a sense of how the moon’s behavior affects you. Soon you will start seeing a link between your headaches and migraines and to different phases of the moon.
The Wrap Up
So, what does this all mean? The evidence is mixed, but it seems that the full moon may trigger migraines and other medical issues in those who are susceptible.
If you’re one of those people, be sure to be extra careful about managing your migraines and overall health during this time.
And if you’re not sure whether the full moon affects you yet, pay close attention to your symptoms around the time of the full moon and see if you notice any patterns.