It seems that humans have always attributed the moon with controlling or contributing to happenings on earth. Some of these theories are proven others are mythical. Science has proven that the gravitational pull of the moon directly affects the level of high and low tides. Native Americans used the phases of the moon to schedule planting and harvesting and still today, the farmer’s almanac lists these guidelines for those who consult these charts when planting. The term “lunacy” was coined to reflect what people felt was the moon’s undesirable effect on human behavior. Whether proven or not we all have some conception of how the moon affects us.
Does the full moon affect sleeping patterns?
Scientists say, yes! But it has nothing to do with the moon’s glow, or even its gravitational pull. Scientists claim that we have an internal biological clock hardwired into our genes which means we sleep less when the moon is full.
Many people (including myself) complain about poor sleep around the full moon. It seems to take longer to nod off, and when we finally do our sleep is much lighter.
In July 2013 a report was published in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, which offered some of the first convincing scientific evidence to suggest that this really is true. The findings add to evidence that humans, despite the comforts of civilized world, still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.
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. ”
About the new study
In the new study, the researchers studied 33 volunteers in two age groups in the lab while they slept. Their brain patterns were monitored while sleeping, along with eye movements and hormone secretions.
The data showed that around the full moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent. People also took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and they slept for twenty minutes less time overall.
Study participants 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.
“This is the first reliable evidence that a lunar rhythm can modulate sleep structure in humans” researchers were quoted as saying by Sciencedaily.com.
Why does this happen?
It’s most likely because as hunters and gatherers, our ancestors used to hunt during the full moon.
So, the next time you can’t get to sleep, take a peek behind the curtains. If there’s a full moon, it might not be your partner’s tossing and turning keeping you awake – it could be your inner caveman!