Can't sleep? It could be the moon's fault

Are there nights when, even for no reason, you can't sleep well? And turn this way, the other and nothing? If you haven't had any caffeine or energy drinks and you have no worries on your mind, it is quite possible that the reason for your lack of sleep is the moon. At least that's what the researchers are saying.

According to them, discoveries have been made that reveal the first reliable evidence that lunar phases can influence sleep in humans, especially when on a full moon.

Beliefs and Research

Image Source: Shutterstock

For thousands of years there has been the belief that the moon influences humans even in their sanity. So much so that the Spanish name of the moon (Luna) is the root of the word "lunatic", which designates a crazy person.

Many people also rely on the lunar phases to get a haircut, a diet, or even try to get pregnant. In addition, some believe that the full moon makes people more aggressive (werewolf?), Encouraging more crime, accidents or psychiatric disorders to occur. However, only some of these beliefs have scientific explanations or confirmations, such as tidal cycles and some behaviors in the animal world.

Now chronobiologist and sleep researcher Christian Cajochen - at the University of Basel Psychiatric Hospital in Switzerland - has found a fact that he did not take seriously at first. The expert was skeptical when people complained of lack of sleep during the full moon.

However, after so many complaints, he and his colleagues decided to evaluate a study done in the sleep lab a few years earlier, the results of which could show some relationship between people's sleep and lunar phases.

Are you seeing that moon?

Image Source: Shutterstock

The results showed that the moon shining brightly in the sky actually influences sleep, and this was unexpectedly discovered by scientists. According to them, "the lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when it is not seen and unaware of its current phase, " Cajochen said.

To reach this conclusion, over four years, researchers monitored the brain activity, eye movements, and hormonal secretions of 33 volunteers in the lab while they slept. All participants were healthy, good sleepers and did not take any sleep-inducing drugs or medications.

But this research was done previously, well before scholars were curious about the phases of the moon. After reviewing the data and carrying out a few more investigations, they found that among the volunteers who took the full moon test, deep sleep-related brain activity fell by 30%. Respondents in this phase also took an average of five minutes longer to fall asleep, and slept about 20 minutes less. It is noteworthy that they were unaware of the moon phases during their studies.

Cycles

The volunteers felt that their sleep was scarcer and less restful during the full moon, and they showed decreased levels of melatonin, a hormone known to regulate sleep and wake cycles.

Scientists have long known that the human body functions in some respects based on regular cycles, such as circadian rhythms, which are about a day long. Based on these results, the researchers suggest that humans may also experience circalunar rhythms over a corresponding month between two full moons.