Moon Phase Determines Sleep Quality

Myths that the moon can affect sleep quality have abounded for years, but recent research has found that, for the first time in a long time, myths may be right.

Research shows that a full moon can affect the quality of sleep people get.

Research shows that a full moon can affect sleep quality.

Researchers at Switzerland’s University of Basel discovered that even when there is no moonlight to disturb the circadian rhythms, participants slept less soundly and for shorter amounts of time during a full moon than at any other lunar phase.  This phenomenon is known of in other life forms, and it’s called the “circalunar rhythm,” but it’s never been seen in people before.

Lead researcher of the study, Christian Cajochen said that many people complain about sleeping poorly throughout the moon stages, or they will say, “it was the moon” that caused their poor quality of sleep, but there are so many myths that it’s hard to tell fact from fiction.  The researchers decided to go back through older data to determine if they could actually shed some light on the potential for the moon to have an effect.

In past research, there was no link between moon phases and the physiology of humans and their behavior.  Cajochen says that he is quite cautious and even skeptical about the study’s findings; he admits that after thoroughly analyzing the data, there is something significant there.  He says that there unquestionably is a circalunar influence.

Eye movements, hormone secretions and brain patterns of the participants were studied during sleep.  They were also asked for their opinions of how well they were sleeping.  The results were published in Current Biology, and they showed that, during the time of the full moon, brain activity in subjects that allowed for deep sleep was decreased by about 30 percent. The participants also reported that it took them about five minutes more than usual to fall asleep.  Participants also had about 20 minutes less of sleep and lower levels of melatonin in their system.  Melatonin is the hormone that helps to regulate sleep patterns.

The study findings corresponded to the volunteers’ own ideas that they slept poorly during a full moon.  According to Cajochen, one issue of the past was that many people were compared through a number of different devices and laboratories, and data came from patients, and the entire process was not standard.  In this case, there was one standard procedure.

Data came from previous studies that did not look at the influence of the moon.  Participants stayed in an extremely controlled environment that included regulated temperature, artificial lighting and no way to check the time.  This helped to ensure that the rhythms of the body could be studied independently of external influences.

Unfortunately, such as controlled procedure allowed for the investigation of only 33 people.

However, many researchers feel that it might not be so unusual that people experience a circalunar clock.  One such neuroscientist is currently studying circadian rhythms with Cambridge University. He suggests that, in terms of evolution, it would make sense that hunter gatherers want to be hunting during a full moon when the skies are light as opposed to the dark skies of a new moon.

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Melissa Krosby

Melissa Krosby currently lives in Gainesville, Florida and has a myriad of experience in writing expos and articles on various niches. As an expert journalist she started her career in High School as the newspaper and yearbook director. Throughout her career her work has been published in thousands of well-known media outlets.However, she finds the best source for her expanding her skills is that of experience, in depth research, and relating to what readers like. Melissa is savvy with fitness, health, and diet articles as you will find she definitely has a way with words and keeping the readers interest. Contact Melissa at

Pin It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>