Does the Moon Affect Humans’ Sleep?
A study that was published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics led by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada evaluated whether or not our moods and actions are affected in any way by the moon.
The researchers used a 12-country study providing 33,710 24-hour accelerometer recordings of sleep and activity. This comprehensive, present, observational, cross-sectional study included 5,812 children ages 9-11 years from all across the globe and with a wide range of human development (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States). The participants were analyzed across three moon phases: full moon, half moon, and new moon. The factors the researchers were looking at included nocturnal sleep duration, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light-intensity physical activity (LPA), and total sedentary time (SED).
While, in general, research that the moon affects humans has been weak, some have found that sleep duration was reduced by 20 minutes and sleep quality decreased. A study from Switzerland told a different story. The researchers were attempting to with a bigger samples size accounting for a variety of factors, evaluate once and for all whether the moon affects humans in a significant way.
They estimated sleep/activity behaviors with “full moon” as the reference category compared with “half moon” and “new moon”. Age, sex, highest parental education, day of measurement, and BMI z-score were included as covariates.
The study revealed that, on average, sleep duration was one percent shorter at full moon compared with a new moon, whereas other activity behaviors were not different. The five minutes of shorter sleep duration is consistent with other studies, but more significant due to the massive sample size.
So, while the researchers found that nocturnal sleep duration is about five minutes shorter around a full moon compared to a new moon in this sample of children selected from around the world, it seems that there isn’t much of an effect from the moon on humans.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.