What is your New Year’s resolution? Perhaps it is the get a better night’s sleep? If so, then you should probably pay attention to the affects that the moon is having on your resting-cycles.  

Yes, you read that correctly, the moon can and does affect your sleep…

It has long been thought that a full moon affects our bodies in ways we can barely understand, but ‘is there any research into the matter?’ you may be saying.

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – this is a widely researched field and much of the data points to one answer – ‘the moon can and does affect how your slumber.’

Here’s how…

The research

In 2013, there was a study that suggested that adults don’t sleep as well when there is a full moon, even if they are not aware of the lunar state.

The study, which was completed at the University of Basel in Switzerland, revealed data that showed that people found it harder to fall asleep and were sleeping for a shorter time on nights when there was a full moon.

Another study, done in 2016 by researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Canada, revealed that children between the age of 9 and 12 slept slightly less on night’s when the moon is full.

This research was conducted with over 5,000 subjects and in over 10 different countries throughout the world.

Could it be because of our inner caveperson?

One of the researchers involved in the Swiss study, Dr Silvia Frey, stated that the reason the moon affects our sleep is because of our internal circalunar clock. The circalunar clock has been demonstrated in marine animals in the past, but never proven within us humans.

She said: “Our findings are the first that point to the existence of a circalunar clock in humans… we expect it works at a molecular level and in the brain, possibly in the hypothalamus, the same part that regulates the circadian rhythm – the body’s own internal clock.”

Dr Frey also suggested that it could be because of our inner caveperson, who would have had to be more aware during the full moon. She added: “Originally, centuries ago it would have made sense if you didn’t sleep as much during a full moon when there was a lot of light and a higher risk of being predated. In our ancient ancestors, it suggests this behaviour would have been a protective feature.”

What can we do?

This is yet another example of the moon, stars and planets affecting our bodies and lives in ways we can barely understand, but is there anything we can do to counteract it?

Staying informed is always a positive answer – then you can do your best to ensure your sleep patterns are not overly affected. Perhaps having less coffee on days when the moon is set to be full, or by timing your workout schedule so you’re a little bit more tired on those days.

Of course, full moon parties are far more fun when you’re wide awake, so this mightn’t be such a bad thing after all!