A full moon can cause sleep disturbances. Research conducted by the American NCBI explains why.
The full moon and lunar cycles in general affect the sleep of children and adults. Often the connection between men and our satellite has been the center of superstitions, legends and conjectures throughout history. However, scientific research has long been interested in the relationship between human behavior and the different phases of the moon, although it remains an unexplored field with respect to the influence of circadian rhythms and clocks, solar and seasonal. Currently there is a lot of evidence that supports its influence at animal level across all species.
A recent international study examined the effects of the full moon on the sleep of children 9 to 11 years old. The experiment was attended by 5000 subjects from 12 countries distributed on all continents, reflecting an economic, geographical and socio-cultural diversity. Sleep and wakefulness levels were measured through the use of accelerometers worn at the waist. The researchers collected data regarding the duration of night's sleep and its performance, i.e. the amount of time spent sleeping compared to the total amount of time spent in bed.
The data were subsequently related to the different phases of the moon: full moon, waning moon, crescent moon. The analysis revealed a small but significant variation in the sleep duration of children in connection with the full moon. Specifically, they slept on average 4.9 minutes less, corresponding to 1% of the total sleep reduction. Although no major changes in sleep patterns have been discovered, this research aligns with previous studies showing a relationship between human sleep patterns and lunar cycles. In 2013, Swiss researchers found profound changes in adult sleep during the full moon.
Participants slept on average 20 minutes minutes less, taking 5 minutes more to fall asleep than the other stages. In addition, they showed lower levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, as well as decreased sleep quality. In fact, they spent less time in slow wave sleep, taking longer to reach the REM phase.