The moon’s cycle is said to affect people in many mysterious ways from inciting more violent behavior to increased fertility. You may not be turning into a werewolf at the sight of the full moon, but it is likely that you have experienced some difficulty sleeping. This relationship has been a troubling subject for scientist that remains quite mysterious.
As with many other superstitions relating to the moon, scientists have tried time and time again to explain the connection between sleep cycles and lunar cycles through experiments and trials.
In one study, volunteers’ sleep cycles were monitored in a light controlled environment with no sunlight or moonlight exposure. The scientists found that during a full moon, volunteers experienced more restless sleep, more difficulty falling asleep and a decreased amount of time in delta sleep (the deepest stage of the sleep cycle). Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the study showed that Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone, was produced at a lessened rate.
The natural justification for this phenomenon is increase light exposure during a full moon, however, because we now have light controlled environments, it is hard to support that theory.
The various effects of the moon continue to puzzle the human mind. Although, currently, there is little proof of causation between the moon and sleep cycle disturbances, scientists are looking to other research and historical evidence to attempt to find an answer. Scientists have looked to similar behavior in marine animals for an explanation; however, no conclusive evidence has been found.
At this point, it is hard to determine exactly what is causing this interesting relationship. Whether it be some mixture of gravity, animal instinct and mental awareness – it is clear there is much more for us to learn about the moon and its effects.
“How does the Moon affect sleep patterns?.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 4 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 July 2014. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/08/economist-explains-0>.
BAKALAR, NICHOLAS. “Moon Phases Tied to Sleep Cycles.” Well Moon Phases Tied to Sleep Cycles Comments. The New York Times, 31 July 2013. Web. 23 July 2014. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/moon-phases-tied-to-sleep-cycles/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0>.