Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Contradictory findings about effect of full moon on sleep

Date:
July 8, 2014
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
According to folklore, the full moon affects human sleep. International researchers are trying to determine whether there is any truth to the belief. Studies have found that people actually sleep 20 minutes less when the moon is full, take five minutes longer to fall asleep and experience 30 minutes more of REM sleep, during which most dreaming is believed to occur.

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.

Related Articles


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.

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. The original article was written by Krister Svahn. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Smith, Ilona Croy, Kerstin Persson Waye. Human sleep and cortical reactivity are influenced by lunar phase. Current Biology, 2014; 24 (12): R551 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.018

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Contradictory findings about effect of full moon on sleep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092135.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2014, July 8). Contradictory findings about effect of full moon on sleep. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092135.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Contradictory findings about effect of full moon on sleep." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708092135.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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