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More moon, less sleep

December 17, 2013

Did you know that the moon affects your sleep?

New studies from researchers at the University of Basel, Switzerland, have shown that the full moon can have negative effects on your sleep.

Scientists have found that during the full moon it takes people on average five minutes longer to fall asleep and they would sleep for around 20 minutes less than normal. Researchers are still not sure how or why the moon affects our sleep patterns. Some researchers think that we may have some kind of  ‘moon clock’ that tracks the moon’s cycles, or maybe it evolved over hundreds of thousands of years - back to when hunting at full moon would have been more beneficial to our primitive ancestors.

The research was  conducted on 33  volunteers would could not see the moon and was a ‘triple blind study, meaning that nobody involved in the study knew what was being researched- including the technicians! This was because of the difficulty of Chronobiology, the study of periodic phenomena in living things and how they adapt to solar- and lunar-related rhythms. Imagine having to collect data about something that happens only once a month! So when scientists do manage to get volunteers that are willing to go through months and months of research, often they will collect as much data as possible - even if they are not sure what value it will have.

In fact scientists didn’t know what to do with the information until years later, when according to some, they ‘just thought of it after a drink in a local bar one evening at full moon’.

The moral? Stay out a little longer next full moon - you are not going to sleep anyway and you never know what brilliant ideas you will think up!

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