Bad Night's Sleep? The Moon Could Be to Blame

July 25, 2013

Science Daily/Cell Press

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2013/07/130725125303_1_540x360.jpg

Many people complain about poor sleep around the full moon, and now a report appearing in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on July 25 offers 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 our civilized world -- still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.

Credit: Current Biology, Cajochen et al.

Many people complain about poor sleep around the full moon, and now a report appearing in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on July 25 offers 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 our civilized world -- still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.

The data show 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 when measured under the highly controlled conditions of a circadian laboratory study protocol without time cues," the researchers say.

"In nearly every measure we had, hamsters exposed to blue light were the worst off, followed by those exposed to white light," he said. "While total darkness was best, red light was not nearly as bad as the other wavelengths we studied."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130725125303.htm

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