Some people are quite sensitive and very much dependent on the conditions like outdoor temperature, wind strength, various other weather conditions, including even Sun and Moon phases. The phenomena of being dependent on the lunar rhythms with our sleep cycles has been known and studied by many researchers, and the findings regarding this issue were quite opposing. Some scientists believe that most of us do not have risks of suffering from sleep disturbances due to changing Moon cycles, but some researchers are convinced that ‘lunar dependency’ is something quite common in modern society. This summer, the findings of one more related studies were published in some scientific magazines and online editions. A group of French scientists studied the effects of Moon cycles on sleep patterns of 33 volunteers, both males and females.
They all agreed to sleep in the lab conditions, and their sleep was thoroughly monitored and analyzed by the researchers. To their great surprise, they found out that all of the participants demonstrated quite clear problems with falling asleep and benefiting from high sleep quality during full moon. Moreover, despite the fact that the lab where the experiment was taking place had no windows and was totally dark in the nighttime, all of the participants reported waking up a few times a night when the moon was round. Finally, there was even more surprising fact: the days of full moon were linked in all the participants to decreased levels of melatonin, a known hormone linked to activating our biological clock and having a good night sleep.
It was really surprising because a great number of previous studies have proven that a human body produces increased amounts of melatonin when it is dark. Therefore, there are other factors like full moon which can cause slowed down melatonin production and creating a great environment for developing sleep disturbances. It was known before that being exposed to lower amounts of sunlight in the daytime, as well as being exposed to too bright light before going to sleep can interfere with melatonin production and contribute to developing sleep problems. According to the reported scientific findings published this summer in one of the issues of Current Biology, full moon and Moon phases can also play a role for that.
Unfortunately, the scientists did not manage to find a scientific prove to the discovered effect. In usual conditions, they would explained it by excessive moonlight which people are exposed to during the periods of full moon. However, the participants could not see the Moon and were not exposed to the excessive light. The scientists reported that during the time of maximum lunar activity, the participants’ sleep was on average 20 minutes shorter, and it took up to 5-10 minutes longer for the participants to fall asleep in the evening. “It’s up to science now to find out what’s the cause of why we might sleep differently when there’s a full Moon,” the study leader said, and he underlined that there are serious cultural bonds between the full moon and its negative effects on our mood and sleep.