Tonight’s Full Moon May Impact Your Sleep
September 19 marks the next full moon on our calendar. There are many myths and stories about what a full moon can do to a person. For years, there has been speculation about the effects of a full moon on births, heart attacks, deaths, violence, hospital admissions, and even pet injuries. Sleep deprivation makes the list of folklore surrounding a full moon. A paper released in Current Biology studied the effects of the lunar cycle and the amount of time taken to fall asleep. This study is considered the first reliable evidence that a lunar rhythm can control human behavior. The study found that around a full moon, subjects slept about 20 minutes shorter and took an average of five additional minutes to fall asleep. Levels of melatonin, a hormone which is released during the night and regulates sleep cycles, were lower during full moon nights as well. On average, sleep quality was about 20 percent worse around the full moon compared with the new moon. The subjects of the study did not have access to information about moon phase, were unable to perceive the moon itself, and could not gauge its light intensity.
The amount of time may not be noticeable to the average person but the quality of sleep during full moon could alter the way you feel during the day.
While the researchers found this result, there is currently only speculation as to what biological mechanism may be at work. Some scientists believe this may be a result of lunar rhythms, which can be compared to circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle. Lunar rhythms are defined as a system whose timing corresponds to lunar month (29.5 days).
Before we can verify the existence of a lunar rhythm, much more research needs to be conducted. The author of the article wrote, “Lunar rhythms are not as evident as circadian rhythms and are thus not easy to document – but they exist”. A common explanation is that artificial light may cause our senses to dull to the effects of a lunar cycle.
Next time you are feeling particularly sluggish, the findings suggest it might be worth a glance at the calendar. It could be the moon, or it could just be a coincidence. If you feel you are experiencing poor sleep or your sleep patterns may be abnormal, contact FusionSleep for a consultation.