Science

Researchers found the full moon may impact sleep and menstrual cycles in a new study

Individuals go to bed later and sleep fewer hours before a full moon and menstrual cycles appear to temporarily synchronize with moon cycles, researchers have found in two new investigations.

Throughout history, people have associated our day by day lives to the evolving skies, specifically the changing faces of the moon. The lore surrounding the moon’s phases has gone from full moons instigating werewolves to the moon’s cycle influencing how we feel and our everyday mind-sets.

In any case, peculiarly, a few of these tall stories appear to have roots in real science.

Sleeping with the full moon

In a study published today (Jan. 27) in the journal Science Advances, a group of researchers from the University of Washington, the National University of Quilmes in Argentina, and Yale University show how sleep cycles appear to change with the lunar cycle.

They found that, in the days leading up to a full moon, individuals tend to go to sleep later and sleep for fewer hours. For this work, the group studied college students in the city of Seattle, Washington, and with those living in indigenous communities in northern Argentina, two unique environments where there is a variety in individual access to electricity because of what artificial light may mean for the members.

Using sleep-monitoring wrist gadgets, they studied 98 people living in three Toba-Qom indigenous communities in Formosa, Argentina, and used sleep information from 464 college students in the Seattle territory (the information from the students was initially gathered for a separate study).

The group found that, while the connection between sleep cycles and lunar cycles is somewhat more evident in communities without electricity access, the connection actually is by all accounts present in zones with electricity also.

“We see a clear lunar modulation of sleep, with sleep decreasing and a later onset of sleep in the days preceding a full moon,” lead author Horacio de la Iglesia, a professor of biology at the University of Washington, said in a statement. “And although the effect is more robust in communities without access to electricity, the effect is present in communities with electricity, including undergraduates at the University of Washington.”

In these groups, they showed that the nights leading up to a full moon was when individuals slept the least and headed to bed the most recent. These nights likewise had all the more light in the night sky after nightfall as the waxing moon got more splendid.

“We hypothesize that the patterns we observed are an innate adaptation that allowed our ancestors to take advantage of this natural source of evening light that occurred at a specific time during the lunar cycle,” study author Leandro Casiraghi, a University of Washington postdoctoral scientist in the biology department.

Menstrual and lunar cycles

Sleep cycles aren’t the only human function that is by all accounts influenced by the moon, researchers are finding. This is certifiably not a new notion.

Indeed, for quite a while, individuals have recommended that there is a connection between lunar and menstrual cycles, a few myths, in any event, proposing that fertility and lunar cycles have a type of connection, a controversial story.

In a different report, likewise published today in Science Advances, scientists indicated that, while the entirety of the myths surrounding this connection probably won’t hold up, there could be some connection between menstrual cycles and moon cycles.

By investigating menstrual cycle records that 22 women kept for as long as 32 years. They analyzed long-term information on menstrual cycle onset with information averaging a length of 15 years and including data from women both under and over age 35. They contrasted this information and variances in the lunar cycles to perceive how the two arranged.

They discovered that, of the ones who partook, those whose menstrual cycles last more than 27 days indicated “intermittently synchronized with cycles that affect the intensity of moonlight,” as per a statement.

The group discovered that this synchronization was gradually lost over a long over time as the members grew older, and found that the link was diminished with expanded exposure to artificial light.

All the more specifically, they concluded that “menstrual cycles also aligned with the tropical month (the 27.32 days it takes the Moon to pass twice through the same equinox point) 13.1% of the time in women 35 years and younger and 17.7% of the time in women over 35, suggesting that menstruation is also affected by shifts in the moon’s gravimetric forces,” as per the statement.

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