Have you ever heard people saying that the phases of the moon affect your sleep? No, this is not some astrology lecture. Just like the sun can impact your melatonin levels, the moon has its effects as well. Let’s discover how the moon affects sleep.
What Are Moon Phases?
The mystique associated with the moon is derived from its nightly transformation. Sometimes this floating orb is full and beautiful in the nights, only to be reduced to a faint crescent a few weeks later. However, while it looks like the moon undergoes a physical shift each night, this is only an optical illusion caused by an elaborate astrological dance.
It is possible to divide the moon’s periodic metamorphosis into eight phases, with each phase revealing the specific shape generated by visible reflected sunlight, as well as whether the shape is expanding or decreasing.
The moon appears in a different region of the sky each night as it travels around the Earth in its monthly cycle, which should be taken into consideration.
This shift has an effect on the timing of the moonrise and moonset, with the moonrise being delayed by approximately 50 minutes each day as a result. A full moon can only occur when the Earth and the sun are in opposition to each other, which means that it rises in the evening and sets in the morning.
Can Moonlight Affect Sleep?
The light reflected back to Earth is said to impair sleep during a full moon. As a result of this, the body’s internal 24-hour clock gets calibrated. That means that light levels affect sleep initiation and quality.
However, the moon’s brightness is a key method for disrupting sleep. Moonlight is just 7 percent as bright as sunshine, which is low intensity.
At night, people are frequently exposed to significantly more artificial light than the moon reflects. Investigations on sleep disruption under the full moon were frequently conducted on overcast evenings or in darkened rooms.
Can Gravity Affect Sleep?
The notion that the moon’s gravitational pull has an influence on human health is centered on the point that the human body is composed primarily of water and that lunar gravity has a considerable effect on ocean tides.
According to critics of this theory, the moon has a negligible gravitational effect on humans. According to studies, lunar tides have an effect on humans that is less than one-millionth the size of an atom.
Additionally, the moon’s gravitational pull is about equal during the full and new moon phases. As a result, any documented variations in sleep patterns during a single moon phase are unlikely to be caused only by gravity oscillations.
Can Electromagnetism Affect Sleep?
Another widely held belief is that the moon is capable of disrupting the Earth’s electromagnetic field. The Earth’s electromagnetic field is characterized by a long tail, or “magnetotail,” shaped by solar winds.
Each month, as it orbits the Earth, the moon passes through the magnetotail, becoming negatively charged. The moon’s magnetic charge can then have an effect on the Earth’s electromagnetic field via a sophisticated feedback mechanism.
According to new research, humans may now be susceptible to low-level geomagnetic disturbances.
Other geomagnetic phenomena (for example, the Northern Lights) have been associated with a variety of health concerns.
- Blood pressure changes
- Heart rate
- Heart attack
Some research shows that they are induced by several factors, including hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and DNA breaks.
Does a Full Moon Affect Sleep?
The evidence supporting moon phases having an influence on people is less certain. The majority of investigations are small and provide inconsistent results. Nonetheless, considerable evidence suggests that lunar cycles may interrupt sleep, with the full moon being the most disruptive phase.
According to one examination of sleep studies, the full moon was associated with poor sleep on a variety of factors.
It took five minutes longer for the participants to fall asleep, slept for twenty minutes less, required more time to reach REM sleep, had a 30 percent reduction in deep sleep, and reported poor sleep quality during this lunar phase.
In the largest study on sleep habits affected by the moon, researchers studied three indigenous Argentine communities and 464 American college students living in a major city. Regardless of location or degree of artificial light exposure, all groups slept later and for less time the week before the full moon.
Does the Moon Affect Women More?
The moon’s effect on female fertility has long been debated. Many believe that menstruation and fertility are controlled by the moon phase. If this is true, then the moon may have an effect on sleep via female hormones.
Sleep disturbances are known to occur as a result of hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Recent research on the moon phase, female reproductive patterns, and sleep has produced contradictory findings. Menstruation happened exactly 15 days before the full or new moon in one 15-year study.
There is a dearth of research comparing the effects of the moon phase on sleep between genders. Nonetheless, a few studies offer notable findings.
Another study found that female participants had decreased sleep time, fewer Stage 4 sleep, and less REM sleep around the full moon. Male participants experienced an increase in REM activity during the full moon.
Other research has discovered small changes in sleep metrics between men and women during the full moon, but the findings are inconsistent and frequently contradictory.
While research on the topic is still needed, it would seem that the moon may indeed have an influence on how we sleep. It shouldn’t seem that surprising considering that light exposure has an impact on melatonin production.
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