Baby’s Sleep and the Moon

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Baby Sleep MoonAwhile ago, Shauna commented on one of my posts about the moon affecting her baby’s sleep and I thought that would make for an interesting article to research. This past Sunday, June 7, 2009, was a full moon and lo and behold both my sons woke up at night. Did I ever tell you how one kid waking up is bad, but both, especially at different times, is downright brutal!? (bowing down to those of you with multiples right now!)

My youngest around 12:20 started crying and I went in, cuddled him for a couple of minutes and put him back down with his crib music on and left. No more peeps out of him. Around 3 something, my preschooler came running into my room saying he had a bad dream someone was chasing him (Reminder: I will be doing a series on nightmares and night terrors this summer). After I gave him a few minutes and took him back to bed, he called out for me later to turn his fan on. Interestingly enough, I had also turned on my youngest’s ceiling fan a few hours earlier, too. I thought they were both hot (I was too), however, I remembered I wanted to do an article about the moon’s effect on our sleep, if there was any, so I looked it up and what do you know? It was a full moon that night.

So, does the moon affect our baby’s sleep?

Mostly what I found was that the moon affecting human behavior and sleep, in general, is not proven and generally accepted as untrue among scientists. In theory, it sounds like it could be likely the moon affects us as it does have an effect on the oceans / tides and the human body is made up of 65% water. However, the amount of water in the oceans is so much greater than our “small” human bodies and the water in the ocean is considered “unbounded”, that it has been said that a mosquito on our arm would have more of an effect than the moon. It’s been said that the term “lunatic” comes from our history that at one time we did believe the moon was to blame for strange behavior, but this has remained unproven by numerous scientific studies. I might have to track my sons’ sleep for the next month and see what happens during the next full moon on July 7th. For now, I’ll stick to reading Goodnight Moon to my boys.

Update 8/11/2011:
I have subscribed to a website about the full moon where they send you an email reminding you it’s coming. They posted an article about the connection (or lack thereof) between sleep and the moon, here: Full Moon Info WebSite. Here is where you can find the remaining Full Moons for 2011.

So, tell me, for my own informal research…

Does your baby wake up during a full moon?

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65 Responses to Baby’s Sleep and the Moon

  1. MP says:

    I have more trouble sleeping when it is a full moon because we have a skylight right above our bed. I wake up and find the giant moon shining right in my eyes and it makes it harder to go back to sleep. I think a few people mentioned this, but the extra light may be affecting babies’ sleep too.

  2. Jill Church says:

    Three points I’d like to make:
    1. As a previous poster mentioned- a full moon is really bright so it might be the extra light that’s causing worse sleep

    2. If sleep gets worse the week before and the week after the full moon then that’s 2 out of every 4 weeks. Certainly something besides the moon could be affecting this. My daughter is like this and I’ve realized that after a couple “good sleep” weeks I tend to get more ambitious about making little tweaks to her sleep- trying for a later wake time or trying to move from 2-1 nap. then after 2 crappy weeks I give up and go back to our familiar routine. So for us, we ARE on a 4 week cycle, but it’s based more on me and how rested I feel instead of the moon

    3. And to me, this one is the clincher: Tides don’t coincide with the fullness of the moon. Tides are based on how close or how far away the moon is from the earth- perigee and apogee, respectively. Full moons are NOT necessarily closer moons (except for the harvest moon). So if you’re feeling that the moon has an affect on sleep (and you’ve got room-darkening shades installed) then it seems more possible it’s linked to perigee and not to its fullness.

    here’s a link giving perigees and apogees
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/pacalc.html

  3. Bron says:

    A month ago I predicted to my father and husband that I reckoned my daughter, who is 3 1/2years, would probably have a night terror around the middle of January, when the full moon is. Tonight, January 12th, she had her 3rd noticble night terror, I say noticble because it was only 3 months ago that I actually realised that it was a terror and not a bad dream. She had woken once or twice recently before that. Day to day (or night to night) she is usually a very good sleeper and goes right through every night, but as I say, the last 5 months, about 2 days in of a full moon, she has had a night terror. I linked it to the full moon fairly quickly, as I remember an absent minded comment from my Health Visitor when my daughter was only a month old. We’d bought my daughter home from hospital after a few days being kept in for checks as she was born nearly 4 weeks early, (I think it was a full moon too) and she had her usual disruptive sleep/feed patterns as all babies do but nothing un-ordinary. Then one night she was just so unsettled, crying and frantic, neither myself or my husband could settle her at all. The next day I spoke of it to my HV, who just shrugged, smiled and said, “ahhh well it is a full moon”!…Now, for some reason that comment did stay with me, all be it it the back of my mind, I havent been looking for coincidence but I have to say I have definately recently noticed a link in my daughers behaviour not only during the night but during the day too when there is a full moon.

  4. Debbye says:

    @ Kathy- I hope things have improved!? And I hope your 2 year old does not sleep better only one a month for the full moon! Ouch! We do hope to hear good news about both of your sleepers. :)

    @ MP- Great reasoning! Yes, the extra light certainly could be upsetting some sensitive
    sleepers around the full moon! Thanks for sharing!

    @ Jill- Thank you for your great insight and for sharing the link! I hope things are improving with your little one. :)

    @ Bron- Thank you for sharing your story!

    Thank you all who commented!
    While we may never truly know the reasons for our little ones’ sleep struggles, it is certainly more fun to “blame it on the moon!”

  5. ann says:

    It’s parasites! They reproduce at the full moon. My son has parasites and we have been fighting them for a while.

  6. Sue says:

    Just searching the web for some insight! My youngest daughter, now 11mths, has for at least the last 5mths, been really unsettled the night before the full moon. Only for the one night each time. I put the connection together about 3 mths ago, and I never monitor the full moon dates, however after an unsettled night, if I check the next day – guaranteed it’s a full moon that night. It’s bizarre! She was inconsolable Tuesday night, and was the full moon was last night. My eldest daughter is not affected at all. Here’s hoping to out growing the sensitivity she has!

  7. Debbye says:

    @ Ann- Thank you for sharing! I hope that you and your doctor has solved the issue with the parasites?! How scary!

    @ Sue- Thank you for sharing! I am sure that as time passes you will all get better at making it through these full moon tribulations! :)

  8. Rella says:

    My son, who is now 3 yrs old, has had sleep issues that coincide with a full moon since he was born. I long ago chalked it up to the moon cycle and nothing else. It no longer causes me stress, I just keep an eye on the calendar and know to expect some disruption for 1-3 nights prior to and the night of the full moon.

    Another full moon is due tomorrow and sure enough last night the drama began. He fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. easily enough but then woke only an hour or so later and was not able to fall back to sleep until almost 1 a.m.! Poor guy – he was SO frustrated at not being able to fall asleep, but it finally came due to utter exhaustion. I’ve tried melatonin (at the advice of our pediatrician) and have even given him some gravol on really bad nights, but nothing but the passing of the full moon seems to really help. Maybe one day he will outgrow/acclimatize to this?

  9. Debbye says:

    Hi Rella,
    Thank you for writing! I do think that with time your son should at least be better able to get himself back to sleep during these full moon tribulations, and also to be able to ahndle being overtired form a bad night or two. Often, just knowing what to expect can make thing easier. As you have said, now that you chalk it up to the moon cycle, you no longer need to stress about it. At least it is only once a month?! :) Best wishes to you both!

  10. Emily says:

    I was wondering what was giong on this week when my son started to groan in his sleep at 4 a.m. and then woke up on the dot Wednesday and Thursday morning at 5:18 a.m. He fell asleep just fine, which is very normal for him, but the early morning wake up was awful. He was screaming and acting like he was scared, and at 14 mos old, it’s tough to tell what’s going on in his head! I subscribe to the idea that the moon does affect sleep for adults as well as kids, but especially kids.

  11. Debbye says:

    Hi Emily,
    I hope that your toddler is sleeping better now that the full moon is waning!

  12. Kathy M Boice says:

    My Dad use to say if an infant had a hard time sleeping to place the head of their crib towards the moon. It works. I wonder how or why? I understand the “light of the moon” thinking, but is there other reasons?

  13. Amanda says:

    My daughter is 21 months old and ever since she was born she has always woken up all night long during a full moon. It took me 5 months before I figured it out. Now when there’s a full moon I dread it but at least I know it’s coming. She normally wakes around 5 times a night normally but with a full moon it’s every 45 mins for 3 days. I have not found anything that can help her sleep better when it’s a full moon. I know they say it’s not scientifically proven but I’ve had plenty of experience with it. It absolutely does affect us. For those of you who are going through the same thing. You are not alone.

  14. Julie says:

    Just reading Amanda’s comment. My 19 mth old also wakes with the full moon around three times I the night. Last night we had a super moon and it was a crazy night . Up about 5 or six times. Unsettled and asking for bottles. She need up having 3 bottles in the night! It’s crazy, and the worse thing is apparently we have 2 more super moons due I the next couple of months………. I will have to mark it on the calendar and see how it goes.

  15. Emily DeJeu says:

    @Julie (and @Amanda) – that moon can do some strange things, can’t it? At least you’ve been able to see a pattern and know that it’s coming. Nicole posted about this a while ago, and listed a site where you can sign up to get notifications about full moons coming soon. You can find it in this article: http://www.babysleepsite.com/how-we-sleep/baby-sleep-moon/ Thank you for taking the time to comment, Julie and Amanda!

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