It is believed that many habits interact with a good night’s sleep including work stress, physical / emotional conditions, barking dogs, an array of electronic devices and so forth. But, another important factor exists, and that’s the full moon. 

Our connection to the moon and the lunar cycle have been the subject of speculations and mythology throughout human history. The lunar effect is known as the effect of the moon on your body. The human menstrual cycle is the best-known example of the way our bodies—over millions of years of evolution—have synchronized themselves to the rhythms of the moon (Jeffrey Kluger,2013). Less well-known is the lunar link to the electrochemistry of the brain in epileptic patients, which changes in the few days surrounding a new moon, making seizures more likely (Jeffrey Kluger,2013).

 Lately, a study in the journal Central Biology on the full moon affecting your sleep pattern, suggests that people tend to get lower quality sleep around the time of  a full moon (Dr. Mercola, 2016). The study included 33 volunteers, aged between 20 and 74. Participants slept in a laboratory with no windows under strictly controlled conditions, with no way of seeing the moon. They stayed in the laboratory for 3½ days. Neither the participants nor the researchers knew, at the time of the experiment, that the phase of the moon would become part of the study. The data came from an experiment done 10 years ago; Cajochen and colleagues didn't analyze the results in terms of lunar patterns until several years after they did the study and waited to publish until recently (Elizabeth Landau, 2016). They concluded that the full moon was associated with a 20-minute reduction in total sleep time, and it took about five minutes longer for participants to fall asleep around a full moon than a new moon. People sleeping in the lab closer to the day of a full moon also had decreased evening levels of melatonin, a hormone important to circadian rhythm that drives the body's cycles of day and night, therefore, wakefulness and sleep (Elizabeth Landau, 2016).

The Central Biology study wasn’t set up to find out the effect of the full moon on the sleep quality, but Cajochen speculated the human brain may have an internal clock that is somehow synchronized with the moon. While scientists already know about circadian rhythms, there may also be a clock driven by lunar cycles. There is already mounting evidence that the lunar cycle influences physiological function and behavior in animals and marine life too (Michael J Breus Ph.D., 2016). To find more about this bizarre relationship between our body and the full moon, the experiment would need to be conducted over a long period of time for at least 30 days to cover an entire lunar cycle, Cajochen said.

Sweet dreams!

 

COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Elona Xhemaili (State University of Tetovo, Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Macedonia)

 

REFERENCES:

  • How the Moon Messes With Your Sleep
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2377915/A-moon-DOES-affect-sleep–inner-caveman.html
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/02/moon-phases-sleep-patterns.aspx
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/17/health/full-moon-sleep-cycle/index.html
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201605/does-full-moon-disrupt-your-sleep
  • http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/does-full-moon-affect-sleep.htm