• The Sleep Expert

Do Moon Phases really affect your sleep quality?

There’s no scientific journals, papers or evidence to suggest that the phases of the moon impact upon your mood, productivity or activity, but millions of people worldwide agree that it does influence their sleep.

A survey of professional medical staff showed that 40% believed lunar phases impacted on human behaviour. If you’re a nocturnal sleeper, then of course, the changing moon is the brightest and most obvious thing in the night sky whilst you’re in slumber. Lunar phases have been linked to crime rates, road traffic accidents, children being born, volatile stock market prices and voting patterns in the media – but is there really a clear link?

The term ‘The Transylvania Effect’ was coined in the 90s, and is used in academic papers to describe the belief that the lunar cycle produces psychological and physiological changes in humans. Despite being a recent coin of phrase, such beliefs can be traced back to Roman times. Pliny the Elder, an author and philosopher in Roman times believed that the moon caused epilepsy as the dew it caused resulted in ‘unnaturally moist’ conditions for the brain. Nowadays, references to lunar cycles are taken with a ‘pinch of salt’ by most, but their constant reference in the press and media do reiterate the validity in these beliefs for many.

Modern calendars were originally developed around the 29-day lunar cycle, but now also include solar movements and the allowance for some time changes. The Islamic Calendar, however, remained lunar – and several celebrations and events within it still are based around moon phases.

Do Moon Phases really affect your sleep quality?

Anecdotal evidence on the moon’s impact on sleep isn’t difficult to find, but scientific evidence can be trickier to find. The University of Bristol carried out a study in 2013 that suggested a correlation between the moon being full and an effect on sleep quality, but the sample size was small. Thirty-three adults were tested and observed, and on average experienced four minutes less sleep in a rapid eye movement cycle during nights over a full moon period than during the other lunar phases. However, the sample size was small, and the study has yet to be replicated. There have yet to be any similar studies carried out – but watch this space for reports on when there are.

It seems therefore that whilst lunar impacts on sleep quality can’t be explicitly proven, there’s nothing to suggest that it may not interrupt (or improve) yours. It’s best to try and combat this and keep you sleep consistent with a relaxing bedtime routine and healthy pre-sleep habits. Even if you find you sleep deeper during a full moon, balance needs to be maintained so that you don’t feel tired and drained some days but full of energy and raring to go others. We can help you develop the perfect set of relaxation techniques to suit you and ensure you get the best possible night’s sleep!


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