Can a Full Moon Disrupt Your Sleep?

Published On May 1, 2019 | By Joshua Sigafus | Sleep

This may sound like a myth. In fact, there are a lot of sources online that claim to confirm that it is mostly hearsay. But is there any truth to the belief that a full moon can disrupt your sleeping patterns?

You’ve probably heard a lot of rumors about the full moon. If you follow the zodiac, or pay attention to how people behave around the full moon, then you may come to realize that there seems to be an uncanny rise in ‘strange’ coincidences.

But is there anything to it? Some of those who believe in it say that the moon has a mystical affect on us. Then, there are those who say that the gravitational pull of the moon would obviously affect us. We are, after all, mostly water, and if the moon can have a gravitational effect on the tides of the ocean, then it probably also has an impact on us, right?

Well, we decided to look into it. Here’s what we found.

The Basics: The Full Moon and Our Sleeping Patterns

The moon has often been blamed for a lot of things… but is there any evidence that it could be keeping you from getting enough sleep?

As it turns out, there is.

Scientists in Switzerland, from the Basel University, actually tested the idea that the full moon has an effect on sleep, and their study ended up with interesting results. The results were published back in 2013, in the journal Current Biology.

The study involved 33 volunteers. These volunteers were reportedly ‘unaware of the purpose of the study’ and were unable to see the moon from where they were sleeping.

In fact, their rooms were completely darkened, meaning that even the light from the moon would not be a factor in the study. And at the end of the study, the researchers learned some interesting facts.

On average, it tended to take the volunteers 5 minutes longer to fall asleep than usual. The volunteers also slept for 20 minutes less than usual, and they also spent 30 percent less time in deep sleep than usual.

At the end of the study, the professor in charge (Professor Christian Cajochen) said this.

“The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not see the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase.”

Why Would This Happen?

It is a bit unclear how the moon could continue to affect us even when we are unaware of the fact that it is full and are unable to even see the light from it.

One theory is that this tendency is a holdover from our evolutionary past. Another is the aforementioned idea that the gravitational pull of the moon affects the delicate bio-circuitry within our brains.

There is also some evidence to suggest that men and women are affected differently by the lunar cycles, which makes the entire thing even more confusing. Also, as of yet, there is still a lack of evidence to track whether age or other conditions could play a role… which means that there is still a lot of information that is not covered in current study material.

The Other Side of the Coin

Even though studies like the one mentioned previously seem to confirm that a full moon can, indeed, influence our quality of sleep, there are still a lot of sources out there that claim it is ‘confirmation bias’ that tells us this.

In other words, people have a ‘theory’ about what is happening, and then they look for instances that confirm their hypothesis.

It is certainly true that the evidence related to sleeping difficulties during a full moon could still contain plenty of room for potential error.

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