Does the Moon Affect How You Sleep?
When there's a full moon are you more restless, finding it difficult to sleep well? If you answered yes, you're not alone. But it's just not true.
Even though popular belief has long held that a full moon interferes with a good night's sleep, Austrian scientists have shown that sleep patterns are not affected by the phases of the moon.
In fact, just 8 percent of those surveyed had problems sleeping while there was a full moon, compared to 25 percent who said they had a particularly good night's sleep on the night of a full moon. Good night, moon.
Reuters reports that researchers with the Austrian Society for Sleep Medicine & Sleep Research examined the sleep patterns of 391 people in several European countries. About half the subjects had sleeping disorders, but no one knew the researchers were interested in the effect of the moon. "When I deal with patients with sleep problems, so many say that the full moon stopped them (from) sleeping, that even I was expecting some small difference to show up in the study," Gerhardt Kloesch, the Vienna University psychologist who led the current research, told Reuters.
Each morning when they woke up, the participants wrote in a diary an assessment of the previous night's sleep, including quality of slumber and the length of time they slept. They were also equipped with movement detectors so the researchers could independently measure whether their sleep was restless or peaceful.
Although more data must be analyzed before firm conclusions can be made, Kloesch told Reuters he thinks those who enjoy a siesta may have an advantage when it comes to quality sleep time. "The Spanish subjects did appear to get to sleep more quickly and achieve higher sleep efficiency--sleeping time in terms of time spent in bed--than the Austrians and the Germans," Kloesch said.
Full moon or not, it's important to get the right amount of sleep each night. If you sleep too little--or even too much--you're at a higher risk for a heart attack. In a separate research study, doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have determined that women who have a sleep imbalance--that is, sleep five or less hours a night or nine or more--run a greater risk of getting heart disease than those who sleep eight hours a night. Why? They aren't sure, especially for those who sleep too much. Reuters reports that while the study involved 121,700 female nurses that began in 1976, the results are likely to apply to men as well.