Blame It On The Moon

If you aren’t sleeping well there’s one thing you can blame. The moon!

 

Researchers say the findings are the first reliable evidence that lunar rhythms can influence sleep in humans, scientists added.

 

The moon often gets blamed for madness on Earth. In fact, the Latin name for the moon, Luna, is the root of the word "lunatic."

 

However, research has repeatedly shown the full moon apparently has no effect on human health.

 

Although a few studies have found weak links with the full moon and increased aggression, unintentional poisonings and absenteeism, a 1985 analysis found no convincing evidence that full moons spur uptakes in mental hospital admissions, psychiatric disturbances, and homicides or other crimes. A 2010 study similarly found a lack of excess criminal activity on full-moon nights.

 

As such, chronobiologist and sleep researcher Christian Cajochen at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel in Switzerland was skeptical when people complained about poor sleep around the full moon. However, over drinks at a pub one evening on a full moon, Cajochen and his colleagues recalled they had completed a lab study on sleep a few years before whose results they could review for possible evidence of effects the moon had on people.

 

Unexpectedly, the scientists found "the lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not see the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase," Cajochen said.

 

Over the course of four years, the researchers had monitored the brain activity, eye movements and hormone secretions of 33 volunteers in the lab while the participants slept. All the participants were healthy, good sleepers, and did not take any drugs or medication.

 

After reviewing their data, the scientists found during the time of the full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent. People also took five minutes longer on average to fall asleep, and they slept for 20 minutes less overall on full-moon nights. The volunteers felt as though their sleep was poorer when the moon was full, and they showed diminished levels of melatonin, a hormone known to regulate sleep and wake cycles. [7 Strange Facts About Insomnia]

 

Scientists have long known the human body often bases key activities on regular cycles, such as circadian rhythms, which are roughly a day in length. Based on these findings, the researchers suggest that humans might also experience circalunar rhythms that drive cycles a month long, roughly matching the time between two full moons.

 

Coutesy of CNN