Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does the moon affect our sleep? Research says no

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
No correlation between moon phases and human sleep has been found by researchers studying the topic. For centuries, people have believed that the moon cycle influences human health, behavior and physiology. Folklore mainly links the full moon with sleeplessness. "We could not observe a statistical relevant correlation between human sleep and the lunar phases," remarked researchers after a large study completed.

Popular beliefs about the influence of the moon on humans widely exist. Many people report sleeplessness around the time of full moon. In contrast to earlier studies, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich did not observe any correlation between human sleep and the lunar phases. The researchers analyzed preexisting data of a large cohort of volunteers and their sleep nights. Further identification of mostly unpublished null findings suggests that the conflicting results of previous studies might be due to a publication bias.

For centuries, people have believed that the moon cycle influences human health, behavior and physiology. Folklore mainly links the full moon with sleeplessness. But what about the scientific background?

Several studies searched in re-analyses of pre-existing datasets on human sleep for a lunar effect, although the results were quite varying and the effects on sleep have rarely been assessed with objective measures, such as a sleep EEG. In some studies women appeared more affected by the moon phase, in others men. Two analyses of datasets from 2013 and 2014, each including between 30 and 50 volunteers, agreed on shorter total sleep duration in the nights around full moon. However, both studies came to conflicting results in other variables. For example, in one analysis the beginning of the REM-sleep phase in which we mainly dream was delayed around new moon, whereas the other study observed the longest delay around full moon.

To overcome the problem of possible chance findings in small study samples, scientists now analyzed the sleep data of overall 1,265 volunteers during 2,097 nights. "Investigating this large cohort of test persons and sleep nights, we were unable to replicate previous findings," states Martin Dresler, neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen, Netherlands. "We could not observe a statistical relevant correlation between human sleep and the lunar phases." Further, his team identified several unpublished null findings including cumulative analyses of more than 20,000 sleep nights, which suggest that the conflicting results might be an example of a publication bias (i.e. the file drawer problem).

The file drawer problem describes the phenomenon, that many studies may be conducted but never reported -- they remain in the file drawer. One much-discussed publication bias in science, medicine and pharmacy is the tendency to report experimental results that are positive or show a significant finding and to omit results that are negative or inconclusive.

Up to now, the influence of the lunar cycle on human sleep was investigated in re-analyses of earlier studies which originally followed different purposes. "To overcome the obvious limitations of retrospective data analysis, carefully controlled studies specifically designed for the test of lunar cycle effects on sleep in large samples are required for a definite answer," comments Dresler.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maren Cordi, Sandra Ackermann, Frederik W. Bes, Francina Hartmann, Boris N. Konrad, Lisa Genzel, Marcel Pawlowski, Axel Steiger, Hartmut Schulz, Björn Rasch, Martin Dresler. Lunar cycle effects on sleep and the file drawer problem. Current Biology, 2014; 24 (12): R549 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.017

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Does the moon affect our sleep? Research says no." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094029.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2014, June 17). Does the moon affect our sleep? Research says no. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094029.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Does the moon affect our sleep? Research says no." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617094029.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins