Irrespective of ethnic and socio-cultural background, human sleep is synchronised with the lunar cycle.

A new study has revealed that different phases of the moon affect our sleeping pattern and depth. The latest research published in the journal Science Advances has shown that a few days before a full moon, people tend to go to bed late and sleep way less. It has been believed and hypothesized for years that light, natural or manmade, is somewhat connected with the sleeping patterns of human beings. Before artificial light was invented, the moon was the only source of light once the sun had set.

Researchers found that sleep starts later and is shorter on the nights before the full moon.

The study says “moonlight was the only source of light sufficient to stimulate night time activity” and they found that sleep starts later and is shorter on the nights before the full moon. This is likely because moonlight is available during the hours following dusk.

To conduct the research, the team used wrist actimetry to establish the relation between nocturnal sleep timing and the lunar cycle. For the study, they chose different participants living in different environments, ranging from rural and urban surroundings. The results pointed out that moonlight must have inhibited sleep in preindustrial communities and continues to do so in rural settings with no artificial light support.

As a report by The Guardian points out, the team had used wrist monitors on 98 individuals to track their sleeping pattern and this research was conducted in three communities in Argentina. While one of them was a rural community that had no electricity access, the other was a rural community with limited access to electricity. The third was located in an urban setting and had full access to electricity.

Surprisingly, all three communities showed the same pattern of sleep oscillations during the moon’s cycle. The sleep duration changed by some 20 and 90 minutes, and bedtimes varied by 30 to 80 minutes during the natural satellite’s 29.5 day-long cycles. Thus it was found that human sleep was synchronised with the lunar cycle irrespective of their ethnic and socio-cultural background.



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