Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Contradictory Findings about the Effect of the Full Moon on Sleep


According to folklore, the full moon affects human sleep. International researchers are trying to determine whether there is any truth to the belief. Studies by a team at The University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that people actually sleep 20 minutes less when the moon is full.

A Swiss research study conducted last year showed that the full moon affects sleep. The findings demonstrated that people average 20 minutes less sleep, take five minutes longer to fall asleep and experience 30 minutes more of REM sleep, during which most dreaming is believed to occur.

Different outcome
Numerous studies through the years have attempted to prove or disprove the hypothesis that lunar phases affect human sleep. But results have been hard to repeat. A group of researchers at the famed Max Planck Institute and elsewhere analyzed data from more than 1,000 people and 26,000 nights of sleep, only to find no correlation.

International researchers are being urged to publish their results in hopes of getting to the bottom of the question. Michael Smith and his co-researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy have analyzed data generated by a previous sleep study and compared them with the lunar cycle.

... more about:
»Biology »Moon »cerebral »cortical »dreaming »lunar »reactivity »sleep

20 minutes less sleep
Based on a study of 47 healthy 18-30 year-olds and published in Current Biology, the results support the theory that a correlation exists.

“Our study generated findings similar to the Swiss project,” Michael Smith says.

“Subjects slept an average of 20 minutes less and had more trouble falling asleep during the full moon phase. However, the greatest impact on REM sleep appeared to be during the new moon.”

More susceptible brain
The retrospective study by the Gothenburg researchers suggests that the brain is more susceptible to external disturbances when the moon is full.

“The purpose of our original study was to examine the way that noise disturbs sleep,” Mr. Smith continues. “Re-analysis of our data showed that sensitivity, measured as reactivity of the cerebral cortex, is greatest during the full moon.”

Greater cortical reactivity was found in both women and men, whereas only men had more trouble falling asleep and slept less when the moon was full. Skeptics warn that both age and gender differences may be a source of error, not to mention more subtle factors such as physical condition and exposure to light during the day.

Need for more studies
Though fully aware of the issues, Mr. Smith is not prepared to dismiss the results of the Gothenburg study.

“The rooms in our sleep laboratories do not have any windows,” he says. “So the effect we found cannot be attributable to increased nocturnal light during full moon. Thus, there may be a built-in biological clock that is affected by the moon, similar to the one that regulates the circadian rhythm. But all this is mere speculation – additionally, more highly controlled studies that target these mechanisms are needed before more definitive conclusions can be drawn.”

The article Human sleep and cortical reactivity are influenced by lunar phase is published in Current Biology.

Michael G. Smith, Researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Phone: +46 31 786 3158, e-mail:

Weitere Informationen:

Ulrika Lundin | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Biology Moon cerebral cortical dreaming lunar reactivity sleep

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht ARTORG and Inselspital develop artificial pancreas
26.11.2015 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Laboratory study: Scientists from Cologne explore a new approach to prevent newborn epilepsies
24.11.2015 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Stretchy Slabs Found in the Deep Earth

30.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

30.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Waters are more polluted than tests say: Standard toxicity analyses come up short

30.11.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

More VideoLinks >>>