Sleep is essential for humans, but many find it difficult to get enough sleep. Now, a new research, far from talking about the possible distractions that can disturb our sleep, focuses on the Moon and its cycles. In one of the largest studies of its kind, scientists monitored the sleep of more than 850 people in Uppsala, Sweden, aged 22 to 81, using polysomnography measurements to determine the onset, duration and quality of sleep. I dream for a single night.
Participants were tested while sleeping, either during the waxing moon (when the amount of illumination on the moon is increasing) or during the waning moon (when its visible surface area is getting smaller and smaller).
Research findings suggest that the lunar cycle affects human sleep, with more pronounced sleep disturbances in men than women. That is, they both slept worse during the waxing moon than during the waning moon. However, this effect was particularly pronounced in men, according to experts.
The full moon, a solar substitute
“Both the new moon and the full moon represent important turning points during the lunar cycle,” said Christian Benedict, a researcher in the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University, and leader of the work that publishes the journal Science of the Total Environment.
It is believed that the increasing brightness of the crescent moon, which reaches an optical crescendo on the night of the full moon, should affect human sleep in a detrimental way in general, since we humans tend to sleep better in darkness.
The human brain is likely to respond to moonlight when the moonlight increases (during the waxing moon) by keeping us awake, something that could be more pronounced in men because the male brain responds more to ambient light than the human brain. female, earlier research suggested.
“We found that men whose sleep was recorded during the nights in the crescent period of the lunar cycle showed lower sleep efficiency and longer waking time after the onset of sleep compared to men whose sleep was measured during nights in the waning period “, clarifies Benedict. “In contrast, women’s sleep was largely unaffected by the lunar cycle.”
The women in the study slept an average of almost 12 minutes less at night during this period , compared to waning nights. For men, it was nearly 20 minutes less, plus less sleep efficiency, more wakefulness, and greater disruptions in the length of sleep stages.
“All associations were strong for adjusting for confounders, including regular sleep disturbances,” the researchers noted.
Referencia: Christian Benedict et al. 2022. Sex-specific association of the lunar cycle with sleep. Science of the Total Environment 804: 150222; doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150222