A new study confirms that lunar cycles really do influence our sleep patterns.
Although many people complain about having a restless night’s sleep around full moon, the association has often been put down as a myth—along with other old wives’ tales such as stuffing garlic in your shoes to cure a cold.
Swiss scientists, however, have finally determined that lunar cycles do affect our sleep patterns. In fact, by measuring brain activity using a technique called electroencephalography (EEG) they found that people slept 20 minutes less per night and had 30 percent less deep sleep during a full moon.
“A lot of people are going to say, ‘Yeah, I knew this already. I never sleep well during a full moon.’ But this is the first data that really confirms it,” said biologist Christian Cajochen, who is the lead author of the new study published in Current Biology, in a statement. “There had been numerous studies before, but many were very inconclusive.”
In the experiment, volunteers were in a closed room where they couldn’t see the moon before they drifted off to sleep. This raises the question of how the body ‘knows’ when it is a full moon and what mechanism, if it’s not direct moonlight, produces the effect on our sleep. This is the question the scientists suspect future studies will be concerned with.
Source: [University of Basel]
Did you know?
The word lunatic is derived from the Latin for “moon-sick”, which denotes the traditional link made between madness and phases of the moon cycle.