Full Moons and Migraines

The impact of the full moon on migraines, while not properly or thoroughly researched, is one that is generally accepted within the patient community. I have certainly noticed that the full moon brings an increase in severity of my migraines and have heard from others who share the experience.

There may be several reasons for why full moons result in a rise in migraine activity.

Hormonal Shifts

Women’s menstrual patterns can cycle with the full moon (similar in length to the lunar phase) leading to a potential double whammy of hormonal shifts along with whatever impact comes along with the full moon itself. Hormonal shifts are a well-known trigger for many women who struggle with migraines.

Sleep Challenges

Studies show that the full moon can alter sleep patterns. This can make it more difficult to both fall into and maintain a full night sleep. As we all know, disruption in sleep is a well-known trigger for migraines.

Psycho/Social/Emotional Disruption

The full moon has an impact on serotonin levels, a chemical in our bodies that regulates mood, among other things. Its imbalance could be the cause for the wide ranging reports from emergency rooms during full moons regarding the increase of incidences involving migraines, alcoholism, epilepsy, menstrual cycles, car accidents, anxiety, depression, sexual activity, homicides, insomnia and diarrhea.

High and Low Tide

With 70-80% of the human body being composed of water, it has also been proposed that if the gravitational force of the moon is sufficient enough to cause the oceans to rise, it may also affect our bodies.

With migraine triggers lurking around every corner, it can be tricky to keep track of them all. That said, the full moon is one trigger that we can anticipate. Proactively taking the full moon calendar into account might help us avoid migraine, or at least decrease its severity and/or frequency. For example, if you believe the full moon is a trigger for you, you might talk with your doctor about the idea of proactively ramping up your preventative treatment strategy in anticipation of the date. Additionally, you might use the calendar when planning in advance for a trip or other special event in an effort to decrease the likelihood of having a migraine.

For your convenience, here are the upcoming full moon dates for the near future:

2016

November 14, 2016
December 14, 2016

2017

January 12, 2017
February 10, 2017
March 12, 2017
April 11, 2017
May 10, 2017
June 9, 2017
July 9, 2017
August 7, 2017
September 6, 2017
October 5, 2017
November 4, 2017
December 3, 2017

2018

January 1, 2018
January 31, 2018
March 1, 2018
March 31, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 29, 2018
June 28, 2018
July 27, 2018
August 26, 2018
September 24, 2018
October 24, 2018
November 23, 2018
December 22, 2018

Does the full moon affect you in any way? If so, how? Have you learned ways to navigate around any challenges it presents you?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (8)
  • Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Holly! I love the fact that we both wrote articles about this at the same time. I have edited mine to mention yours and link to it. Yours is more scientifically based and mine is more poetic, which I think is cool 🙂 Here is the link to my post which was published yesterday.
    https://migraine.com/living-migraine/the-full-moon/

    Great migraine minds!

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Elizabeth!

    This is a wonderful coincidence! When I was first considering the content of this piece, I searched the site and saw there was not much on the subject. I agree that it’s very cool that we both chose the explore it in depth at the same time. I loved your piece and thanks for linking back to mine. Very warmly- Holly

  • Mr FBP
    2 years ago

    Here are the dates for 2016 if you want to backcheck your migraine journals.

    January 23rd Full Wolf Moon 8:46 pm
    February 22nd Full Snow Moon 1:20 pm
    March 23rd Full Worm Moon 8:01 am
    April 22nd Full Pink Moon 1:24 am
    May 21st Full Flower Moon 5:14 pm
    June 20th Full Strawberry Moon 7:02 am
    July 19th Full Buck Moon 6:57 pm
    August 18th Full Sturgeon Moon 5:27 am
    September 16th Full Harvest Moon 3:05 pm
    October 16th Full Hunter’s Moon 12:23 am
    November 14th Full Beaver Moon 8:52 am
    December 13th Full Cold Moon 7:06 pm

    from “farmersalmanc.com”

  • Angiestl
    2 years ago

    Those times are not going to be correct for all time zones, as that the full moon doesn’t crest in every time zone. I believe the Farmer’s Almanac asks for your zip code when you access their site, to give you the most accurate info for you.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Mr FBP –
    Great of you to take the time to share this with the community! Thanks so much for doing so!

    Take care,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Mr FBP
    2 years ago

    I’ve always been sceptical about attributing anything to the full moon. The thing is, it’s always there, it’s just that for a few days every month it’s very visibly there. It passes overhead at some point every day.

    We have high tides twice a day, once when the moon is overhead and once when it is on the far side of the world. So if there is a link between migraine, sleep and tides it would also be apparent at new moon, when high tides also coincide with sleep.

    The visibility of the moon, and it’s intense light when reflecting the sun ‘full on’ could well be a trigger. It adds to ambient light even on cloudy nights.

    Of course my scepticism isn’t a reason not to monitor my migraines against lunar activity, it’s just that I have them all month round – usually one a week. I think I may take the time to go over my diary for the last few months and check intensity at different moon phases.

  • Tamara
    2 years ago

    Hmmmmm I might have to track this …… full moon last night and bad migraine last night as well.

    I do remember quite a few nights having severe pain and unable to sleep so I sit at the window watching the moon and it’s normally full or almost.

    Would suck to have another unavoidable trigger but I could at least plan around it easier than pressure changes in the weather.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Tamara- Thanks for sharing. Yes- the timing of this article release is perfect as the full moon was last night. Great idea to begin paying attention to see if it might hold some connections for you. And you’re right- perhaps there may be some ways to treat yourself preventively around those times if it is an additional trigger for you. Best of luck! Warmly – Holly Baddour (moderator/patient advocate- migraine.com).

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