The phases of the moon not only determine the low tide and the tide, as we learned in school, but even affect our sleep, judge two scientific studies.
The traditional belief in several countries has long been that the moon – in addition to werewolves – affects the mood of humans, as well as female fertility.
Now, two new scientific studies are coming to show that there is some basis for these beliefs. One study found that people fell asleep more slowly and slept fewer hours in the days before the full moon, while a second study concluded that menstrual cycles sporadically synchronize with lunar cycles.
The first study by scientists from the United States (Washington and Yale universities) and Argentina (Quilmes National University in Buenos Aires), led by Biology professor Horacio de la Inglesia of the first university, published in the American journal that sleep cycles appear to change depending on the lunar cycle lasting about 29.5 days.
The study involved 562 people who wore for two months on their wrist a device to monitor their sleep habits.
It was found that three to five days before the full moon (but strangely not on the full moon day itself) the most diverse people – both students in a modern metropolis like Seattle and indigenous peasants they even have electricity – they tend to sleep slower and less hours. The opposite happens in the days before the New Moon. The phenomenon is more intense in places where there is no electricity, but it is also felt in places with electricity.
For most people, the time and duration of sleep varies considerably, by 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the phase of the moon, much to the surprise of the researchers, who did not expect such large fluctuations. Scientists still do not have a clear answer as to why this is and what biological mechanism is involved. One possibility is that this is an evolutionary adaptation, which allowed our ancestors to use the increased light just before the full moon for various tasks.
Moon and fertility
A second study by scientists in Germany, the United States and Argentina, led by chronobiologist Charlotte Helfrich-Ferster of the Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg, published in the same journal, analyzed the cycles of women up to 22 years of age. , which had kept a relevant diary, comparing it with the lunar cycle (phases of the moon).
It was found that those women who had a period of more than 27 days periodically showed synchronization with the lunar cycle. The synchronization was greater in the long winter nights and when the Moon was closer to the Earth, while it tended to gradually disappear as the women got older and was also shorter when a woman was more frequently exposed to artificial light.
In women under the age of 35, menstruation synchronizes with the full moon or the new moon about one in four times on average, while in women over the age of 35 only once in ten. Women who belong to the owl chronotype (fall asleep late and wake up later) do not synchronize their menstruation with the moon at all.
Previous studies have suggested that women with periods more synchronized with lunar cycles are more likely to become pregnant, while births are more likely to occur on full moon nights and when there is a new moon. “We know of many species of animals in which reproductive behavior synchronizes with the lunar cycle, increasing reproductive success,” Ferster said, although the lunar effect on female fertility remains a controversial scientific issue.