What does science say?

The full moon has its share of urban legends and ancestral beliefs. Between sleep quality, childbirth, mortality, or even the effect on plants, Science et Avenir separates truth from falsehood.

1. Does the full moon affect the quality of sleep?

The popular belief is that sleep quality is disturbed on full moon nights, but what does the science say?

A 2013 study published in the journal showed that the lunar rhythm affects sleep. Researcher Christian Cajochen and his team analyzed the brain’s electrical activity, the phases and quality of sleep, as well as the secretion of melatonin (sleep hormones) and cortisol (a stress hormone). To avoid any bias, the volunteers were not informed that the study focused on the phases of the moon. Result: around the full moon (0 to 4 days before or after) There is a 5-minute increase in sleep time, a decrease in total sleep time by 20 minutes and a 30% decrease in deep sleep time (ie. 3e slow sleep phase, which accounts for 15% to 25% of the total sleep time and allows recovery from physical fatigue). This research concluded that the changes were associated with lower sleep quality and lower levels of melatonin.

Nearly ten years later, a study published in the journal confirmed the effect of the full moon on sleep quality. Thanks to the activity meter (analysis of body movements during sleep via a process worn on the wrist, called the activity meter), the researchers responsible for the study revealed a relationship between sleep rhythm and the lunar cycle. Their study focused on 464 high school students at the University of Washington between 2015 and 2018, thus living in cities, as well as 98 indigenous tribal people without access to electricity (Toba/Qom communities in Argentina). “Sleep begins late and is abridged in the nights before a full moon when moonlight is visible in the hours after duskLeandro Casiragh and colleagues suggest. In fact, the nightlife may have been regulated[…]

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