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How the moon affects our Sleep

  • 29 July 2017
  • By Alphonse Reddy

Have you ever wondered why our sleep is disrupted on some days, even when we have no apparent worry? There is a close relation between how we sleep and the different phases of the moon. ‘Moonstruck madness’ finds mention many a times in folklore. It is believed that we stop sleeping as soundly around a full moon and a lot of scientists have tried to unravel the mystery.

Our sleep waxes and wanes according to the moon’s cycle but how exactly has been a subject of great research. Researchers have observed how when the moon is at its brightest and appears in the sky from sunset to sunrise, humans take longer to fall asleep and don’t get as deep a sleep as at other times.

Melatonin levels and delta sleep time (the deepest sleep, as recorded by EEG) are known to drop around the full moon and be the lowest in the whole lunar cycle. Researchers have used cues from the behavior of animal physiology and different phases of the moon. The gravitational force of the moon has an even bigger effect on ocean ties.

There have been findings that suggest we could possess an internal biological rhythm that is linked to the moon’s cycle. A 30-days “circalunar rhythm” could be linked to our circadian rhythms, which regulates sleep and helps align our body to night and day. Several marine species have a ‘circalunar clock’ that works in tandem with their circadian clocks. Humans could have an internal biological clock that follows a 28-day lunar cycle, some scientists conjecture, in the primitive times, men might have stayed up longer on bright nights for hunting and fishing, making it part of our DNA.

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