Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Contradictory Findings about the Effect of the Full Moon on Sleep

08.07.2014

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.

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

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.

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.

Contact
Michael G. Smith, Researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Phone: +46 31 786 3158, e-mail: michael.smith@amm.gu.se

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/news-calendar/News_detail/?languag...

Ulrika Lundin | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify early sign of pancreatic cancer
29.09.2014 | Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

nachricht Scientists discover a new role for estrogen in the pathology of breast cancer
29.09.2014 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

BrainScaleS Conference: From Neurobiology to New Computer Architectures

25.09.2014 | Event News

17th European Health Forum Gastein: “Electing Health – The Europe We Want”

23.09.2014 | Event News

Future questions regarding data processing

22.09.2014 | Event News

 
Latest News

A 'frenemy' in Parkinson's disease takes to crowdsourcing

30.09.2014 | Life Sciences

An apple a day could keep obesity away

30.09.2014 | Life Sciences

Chinese scientists unveil liquid phase 3-D printing method using low melting metal alloy ink

30.09.2014 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>