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August 20, 2013

Swiss Researchers Claim Quality of Sleep Linked to Phase of the Moon

This is a bit stale now but I hadn't seen it before.

The study involved only 30 people and wasn't even designed to test a linkage between "disturbed sleep" and the full moon. It was just a general sleep test. But they realized they had the data to analyze their patients' sleep according to what phase of the moon it was at the time of the study.

"We were sitting outside a pub, and we were looking at the full moon" when they hatched their plan, Cajochen remembers. In an unrelated earlier study, the scientists had collected detailed observations on the sleep patterns of some 30 healthy people — young and old, men and women — as they spent three days sleeping in a lab at various times of the month. The sleepers had been in light-controlled rooms, so were shielded during the study from any changes in daylight — or moonlight — outside the lab, and hadn't been asked anything at all about the moon.

In their current , published this week in Current Biology, Cajochen and his colleague looked back at that old data set and did some number crunching to compare how the people slept at different stages of the lunar cycle.

"We found that people who entered the lab during a full moon slept, on average, 20 minutes less than people who came in during the new moon phase," Cajochen says. Deep sleep was also significantly reduced among people who were in the lab during a full moon, versus those at the lab during a new moon. And the sleep-inducing hormone also declined during a full moon.

More:

Researchers also found that it took about five minutes longer for participants to fall asleep around a full moon than around a new moon. Deep sleep was, on average, 30% decreased around the time of a full moon.

Other scientists are pretty skeptical. Not only was this a small study, but no person actually was part of the study for all 30 days of the phases of the moon. They're comparing the sleep of one guy at one phase to the sleep of another guy at another phase.

Eh. I had trouble sleeping the last few nights and it was indeed a full (or nearly full) moon.

So I'll decide that this is true.


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posted by Ace at 12:39 PM

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