We are far more intimately connected with the moon than you might realize. Whether subtly or dramatically, your mood, sleep patterns, and physical health all likely change to some degree with the different moon phases.
I had a client who taught young kids for many years, and she once told me that when the full moon rolled around each month, she and her fellow teachers knew to brace themselves for a wild few days. And if they forgot, and noticed the kids were particularly off the wall, inevitably they could trace it back to the full moon.
The most common changes I see in adults around the full moon are worse sleep, often with lots of tossing and turning, early waking, irritability and changes in digestion.
The moon, your mood, sleep and gut health
If you've noticed you don't sleep as well around the full moon, you're not alone — as this graph from a 2013 paper published in Current Biology shows, on average it takes significantly longer to fall asleep when the moon is brightest, and many people report more restlessness during that time.
Melatonin levels naturally decrease around the full moon, which may account for changes in sleep patterns, at least in part.
We also know that melatonin plays a role in how our immune system keeps parasites, a common cause of digestive issues and general inflammation, in check:
So, less melatonin means a friendlier environment for parasites.
On the other hand, serotonin levels — the brain chemical that keeps your mood stable and happy — naturally increase around the full moon. While that may sound like a good thing, as low serotonin levels can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression and sleep problems, the sudden spike during the full moon can also be unpleasant, especially for those who tend toward anxiety, and may affect mood issues like bipolar disorder. I’ve had many clients, colleagues and friends report mood changes and even a slightly manic energy around the full moon.
As with melatonin, there is a relationship in the body between serotonin levels and parasites. Like us, parasites have serotonin receptors. The full moon bump in serotonin levels allows parasites to become more mobile, and they can use serotonin to communicate with one another.
GABA, an important neurotransmitter for feeling calm and sleeping deeply, may also be impacted by parasites. Because GABA impairs parasites’ ability to move, some of them release chemicals to reduce our own GABA production. Low GABA can lead to anxiety and poor sleep.
Parasites can also affect acetylcholine levels, another important neurotransmitter that affects brain function and our ability to get adequate REM sleep.
The truth is, we all have parasites. Just as we all have friendly and unfriendly bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungus and more within us — parasites can exist within us and they don’t necessarily have to cause any issues. You may never notice them. But if the levels of certain organisms overwhelms our body’s ability to keep them in check, or if our defenses are down (i.e., under periods of illness or physical / emotional stress), or if there are other infections or toxins putting a strain on our immune system’s resources, they can start to cause problems.
The Full Moon
One big red flag for parasite issues is when a client notices symptoms flaring up monthly (and it’s not clearly tied to the menstrual cycle, though the menstrual cycle, the moon cycle and parasites can all interact with each other). They may not be aware that the flare-ups coincides with the full moon, but once we start working together and speak after a full moon has occurred, almost invariably they notice a correlation. Parasites cause inflammation which can impact pretty much any part of the body:
I like this parasite questionnaire to get a sense of whether this may be an issue for you -
Since melatonin levels drop and serotonin levels can spike during the full moon, this creates an optimal environment for parasites to move, reproduce, and emit inflammatory toxins in the process.
The New Moon
While the full moon’s gotten a lot of press in the holistic community as a time when these issues can flare, I’ve noticed that, in certain people, this cycle occurs around the new moon instead (and sometimes in addition). Something to be aware of!
The Full (or New) Moon Parasite Cleanse
Because parasites are most active around the full (and sometimes new) moon, these can be great times to target them. I really like CellCore Bioscience’s Full Moon Kit (now called the Para Kit) — BUT — a big but — it’s powerful and should only be considered once initial support has been done on drainage pathways to make sure the body can handle it. Especially if you tend to be sensitive. I typically take clients through at least 30-60 days of prep work before going to this step, and I always energetically scan each person (virtually) to see if we need to individualize the protocol (we often do). But I have seen magic happen once we get there — parasites eliminated (sometimes visibly — sounds gross but it’s pretty exciting when it happens) and inflammation and symptoms finally calm down.
Full Moon Tips
Even if you’re not ready to jump into a full moon cleanse, there are things you can do to support your body if things tend to feel “off” during the full or new moon:
Avoid foods that feed parasites — listed here
Keep your lymphatic system flowing to help clear toxins and support your immune system by moving your body throughout the day: walk, stretch, dance, do yoga (yoga also increases GABA! Bonus!)
If you tend to have restless nights around the full moon, consider supplementing with melatonin, and if you already take it, you might increase your dose for those 3-5 days. For example, I typically take 2mg of melatonin before bed, and the week of the full moon will typically increase it to 3-4mg. Everyone’s different though, consult your healthcare provider for guidance.
You can also supplement with GABA (200 mg of Zen by Allergy Research Group is one of my favorite supplements for this) both at bedtime and during the day; again, individual needs here will vary; consult your healthcare provider.
I think I may have a parasite. What now?
Read my post on parasites and gut health, which includes a list of initial things to consider. I also outline my next steps with clients who feel stuck in this process, confused about what to do next or just aren’t sure where to start.
And if you’d like help, I’d be happy to speak with you. Schedule a free discovery call so we can figure out next steps together.