Humans, because of our high water content, are affected by the moon, much like the tides. Women, in particular, due to our monthly cycles, can be highly influenced by the monthly cycle of the moon.
In fact, most women with natural cycles (who are not and have not recently been on hormonal birth control) will ovulate with the full moon and bleed with the new moon.
A number of women will do the reverse, ovulating on the new moon and menstruating with the full moon. And some women will fall somewhere in between – generally when they are going through some sort of transition.
Because of this, the moon can provide a powerful tool for regulating your cycle. I especially recommend that women who are coming off of long term pill use utilize this tool to get a natural, healthy cycle back. This can be especially powerful if you have had irregular periods or a history of amenorrhea (no periods) prior to or following pill use.
To harness the power of the moon to help regulate your cycle, use the following steps:
If you’re planning to come off the pill, you can stop taking the hormone pills at any point during the month. In order to sync with the moon, stop taking the pill a day or two before the new moon so that your withdrawal bleed will coincide with it.
If you have irregular cycles but are not coming off of the pill or another hormonal contraceptive, sleep in total darkness for 12-14 days beginning with the new moon.
Regulating your exposure to light is the most important step in moon-syncing. Studies show that even brief exposure to light in the middle of the night can disrupt a woman’s cycle.
Sleep in total darkness, with an eye mask if necessary throughout the month. Sleep without the eye mask or with a small night light on the day of the full moon, or for the day before, the day of and the day after (for a total of three days). This will mimic the light exposure you would naturally get around the time of the moon.
You should also be careful of your exposure to the blue light of screens late at night, as this kind of light is particularly disruptive. You may also want to install a red lightbulb to use as a light source later at night, as the red light will not disrupt your hormone cycles or trigger early ovulation. (This is especially important if you tend to take a mid-sleep bathroom break.)
Monitoring your nightly exposure to light and letting a little light in around the full moon can also help women with minor irregularities obtain a more regular cycle. In one study, more than half of the women subjects obtained regular menstrual cycles just by sleeping with a light on for the three days surrounding ovulation.
Next, throughout the month, stay aware of where the moon is in its cycle, and tune into its energies. If you can, stepping outside to see where the moon is in its cycle can be particularly therapeutic. Incorporate more rest and sleep during the new moon, let yourself get a little loose during the full moon.
The days following the new moon are a good time to start new projects, around the full moon you may notice that you are more open to collaboration and will excel at networking (and flirting).
Following the full moon, you may notice that you become more detail oriented and begin to turn your attention inwards. This is a good time to reflect on the work you’ve been doing.
In terms of your diet and exercise, it can be helpful to think of the two weeks beginning with the new moon as cleansing, and the two weeks beginning with the full moon as particularly nourishing.
Your body may thrive on raw foods, plenty of greens and minimal animal protein leading up to the full moon, but may require heartier, richer foods following the full moon.
At the time of the new moon, which mirrors menstruation, your energy will be lower and low-impact exercise (walking, yoga) are recommended. However, at the time of the full moon, which mirrors ovulation, your body will tolerate strenuous exercise better.
It may take a while for your cycle to fully sync with the moon. However, especially in the absence of a period, the lunar cycle can provide good benchmarks and a means to incorporate the feminine cycle of rest and action into your life.
As your cycle begins to re-establish itself, tuning into the energies of the moon will continue to help you honor the natural rhythms of your body.
Kara Ferreira is a fertility health expert who works with women to troubleshoot their cycles and digestion so that they can feel their best. She is a certified women’s health coach and works with women at Quit The Pill to transition off of hormonal birth control as seamlessly as possible, and repair health post-HBC. You can find her on social media @karaferreira_ and @quitthepill.