Struggling to sleep? Blame the MOON! Lunar cycles have a significant influence on human slumber – especially for men, study finds

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  • Researchers find that sleep varies substantially throughout the lunar cycle in men
  • Women were also influenced by moon light but not like men
  • When the moonlight is increasing, it is possible that the brain reacts to the moonlight

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Sleep struggles regularly affect many of us, and now a new study has revealed that the moon may be to blame for these issues—especially if you’re a man.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden monitored sleep among both men and women on the opposite side of the lunar cycle.

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More than 800 participants were assessed while they were asleep, either during a waxing moon (when the amount of light on the moon is increasing) or a waning moon (when its visible surface area is getting smaller).

Researchers found that both men and women get more sleep during the waxing moon than during the waning moon.

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However, according to the team, this effect was particularly pronounced in men.

It is likely that the human brain responds to moonlight when the moonlight is increasing (during the waxing moon) by keeping us awake.

This may be more pronounced in men because male brains are more responsive to ambient light than female brains, previous research suggests.

Men’s sleep may be more powerfully affected by the lunar cycle than women’s, as the male brain may be more responsive to ambient light than the female brain (stock image).

Moon phases

new moon

0 percent illumination. The phase of the Moon when it first appears as a thin crescent, immediately followed by conjunction with the Sun

waxing moon

During the first half of the lunar month when the amount of light on the Moon is increasing

full moon

100 percent illumination. When the Moon is fully illuminated from Earth’s point of view)

waning moon

When its visible surface area is getting smaller

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Whether the Moon affects our sleep has been a controversial issue among scientists – many regard the idea that we are innately connected to the Moon in some way as pseudoscience.

But anyone who experiences more difficulties sleeping during the 15-day period than during the following 15-day period (which, combined, make up roughly one lunar cycle), may well be affected by changes in lunar light. Yes, this new study suggests.

The new study is led by Associate Professor Christian Benedict of Uppsala University’s Department of Neuroscience and published in the journal Science. Science of the Total Environment.

“Our results were strong for chronic sleep problems and adjustment for obstructive sleep apnea severity,” Professor Benedict said.

‘Our study, of course, cannot distinguish whether the association of sleep with the lunar cycle was causal or just correlated.’

During the 29.5-day lunar cycle, we observe a new moon (with 0 percent illumination), a waxing moon (when the amount of light on the Moon is increasing), a full moon (100 percent illumination) and then an attenuation. Moon (when its visible surface area is becoming smaller).

The waxing moon becomes increasingly bright as it moves toward the full moon, and typically rises in the late afternoon or early evening, keeping it high in the sky during the evening after sunset.

From the day after the new moon to the day of the full moon (also called the waxing period), the moon's illumination increases, and the time of the moon's meridian gradually shifts from noon to midnight.  Conversely, from the day after the full moon to the new moon (also known as the diminutive period), the moon's illumination decreases, and the time of the moon's meridian gradually shifts from the early hours of the night to the afternoon. Is.

From the day after the new moon to the day of the full moon (also called the waxing period), the moon’s light increases, and the time of the moon’s meridian gradually shifts from noon to midnight. Conversely, from the day after the full moon to the new moon (also known as the diminutive period), the moon’s illumination decreases, and the time of the moon’s meridian gradually shifts from the early hours of the night to the afternoon. Is.

Previous studies have produced some conflicting results on the relationship between the lunar cycle and sleep.

To learn more, the researchers used one night’s sleep recordings of 492 women and 360 men aged 22 to 81 at home.

Participants were equipped with polysomnography equipment, which measures brain waves, respiration, muscle tension, speed, heart activity, and more, as they progressed through different stages of sleep.

Amavasya (the phase of the Moon when it first appears as a thin crescent, immediately after conjunction with the Sun)

Waxing Moon (during the first half of the lunar month when the amount of light on the Moon is increasing)

FULL MOON (when the Moon is fully illuminated from Earth's point of view)

Waning Moon (when its visible surface area is getting smaller)

Images show new moon, waxing moon, full moon and waning moon as they look during the 29.5-day lunar cycle

Overall, men whose sleep was recorded during the night in the waxing period of the lunar cycle had poorer sleep than men whose sleep was measured during nights in the waxing period.

In addition, ‘a significant interacting effect of participants’ sex’ with lunar duration on sleep was noted by the researchers.

Men had less ability to sleep and were awake for longer periods after initially falling asleep during the waxing period than women.

‘All associations were strong for adjustment for confounders, including regular sleep disturbances,’ the researchers reported.

Whether human sleep is affected by the lunar cycle is a matter of controversy – but this new research suggests that it is, and particularly for men.

Whether human sleep is affected by the lunar cycle is a matter of controversy – but this new research suggests that it is, and particularly for men.

‘Our findings suggest that the effect of the lunar cycle on human sleep is more pronounced in men.

One mechanism through which the Moon may affect sleep is sunlight reflected by the Moon at approximately the time that people usually go to bed.

with this, a 2000 study Cowan at the McLean Imaging Center in Belmont, Massachusetts, suggested that the male brain may be more responsive to ambient light than females.

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Washington reported that people go to bed later and sleep for less time on moon nights.

He said more natural moonlight is available after dusk in the evening leading up to the full moon, which acts as a surrogate for sunlight.

Study finds women’s menstrual cycles ‘temporarily synchronized with moon cycles’

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