Moon Phases Affect How Much People Sleep, Study Finds

For thousands of years, humans have studied the Moon and the possible effects of the satellite, such as its phases — new, crescent, full and waning — in terrestrial life. Now, a team of Swedish researchers has observed that lunar cycles can also affect human sleep, exerting a greater influence on men.

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    Published in the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment, researchers from the University of Uppsala monitored the sleep of more than 850 people, aged between 20 and 850 years, in the Swedish city of the same name. According to the authors, sleep duration was generally reduced during the nights of the crescent phase of the lunar cycle.

    Swedish research points to interference of moon phases in sleep (Image: Reproduction/Megostudio/Envato)

    Moon and sleep: understand the study

    During the experiment, the sleep examination (polysomnography) was done on the participants to determine the onset, duration and quality of sleep. The measurements lasted for a single night, meaning the same people were not evaluated for a full month. Sleep data collections were made between 1024 and 2001.

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For the authors, the new research confirms that lunar cycles have a significant and detectable influence on human sleep, but not all are equally affected by the phases of the Moon. nights in the rising period of the lunar cycle, exhibited lower sleep efficiency and longer waking hours compared to men whose sleep was measured during nights in the decline period. “, explains neuroscientist Christian Benedict, from the University of Uppsala.

In the study, the men slept about 12 minutes less in the nights of the crescent phase of the lunar cycle, for example. Also in the crescent period of the satellite, it was possible to estimate 3.4% less efficiency of sleep — relation between the time the person was in bed and the actual time of sleep.

“In contrast, the sleep of women remained practically unaltered by the lunar cycle” , says neuroscientist Benedict. Although the results in women were less direct from the Moon’s influence on sleep patterns, the phenomenon is not invisible, according to the author. For example, women slept, on average, about 12 minutes less on nights during the crescent phase of the Moon, compared to waning nights.

So, is the research conclusive?
Moon crescent phase negatively affects human sleep (Image: Reproduction/Ganapathy Kumar/Unsplash)

It is worth noting that the study cannot define whether there is a casual relationship (or not) with the brighter phases of the Moon and the smallest amount of sleep minutes among humans. A number of factors could explain this oscillation. “Our study cannot distinguish whether the association of sleep with the lunar cycle was causal or just correlative”, says Benedict.

On the other hand, some kind of influence was reported. Today, the main explanation for this is the fact that the closer to the full moon, the brighter planet Earth becomes. “For each additional day during the crescent phase, the Moon reflects more sunlight to Earth, reaching maximum illumination on the day of the full Moon,” the authors detail. Thus, it is possible to speculate that lighter nights interfere negatively with the quality of sleep.

To access the full study, published in the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment, click here.

Source: Science Alert

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