Blame Bad Night's Sleep on the Moon

A new study finds human sleep patterns are timed to the phases of the moon.
Ker Than for National Geographic
If you have trouble falling asleep around the same time each month, the moon might be to blame.
Scientists say they've found evidence that human sleep patterns are timed to the phases of the moon, and that people sleep 20 minutes less on average during a full moon.
"The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not 'see' the moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase," study co-authorChristian Cajochen, a chronobiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, said in a statement.Cajochen says his team's findings, detailed in the July 25 issue of the journalCurrent Biology, could be evidence of a biological "circalunar clock" ticking inside of humans.Similar to the circadian clock that helps humans and other animals sync their physical and behavioral changes to a 24-hour day-night cycle, a circalunar clock would somehow be synchronized with the changing phases of the moon.
Evidence of a circalunar clock has been found in insects and reptiles, but not yet in humans. Cajochen stressed that there could be other ways to explain his findings.
"This is just an interpretation of the results," he said in an interview Thursday.Malcom von Schantz, a sleep and circadian researcher at the University of Surrey in the U.K., called the new findings "fascinating" because they run counter to the results of several other studies that failed to find a link between the moon and human behavior.Read More...


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