It may not make you howl, but a full moon can definitely keep you up at night, new research suggests.
Studies by at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that people actually sleep 20 minutes less, on average, when the moon is full.
The findings echo those of a Swiss research study conducted last year that showed that when the moon is full people average 20 minutes less sleep, take longer to fall asleep, and experience 30 minutes more of REM sleep, during which most dreaming is believed to occur.
For the latest study, lead by Michael Smith and his co-researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, tracked 47 healthy 18- to 30-year-olds to reach their conclusions that a correlation exists between lunar cycles and sleep patterns.
“Our study generated findings similar to the Swiss project,” said Smith, whose findings were published in the journal Current Biology. “Subjects slept an average of 20 minutes less and had more trouble falling asleep during the full moon phase. However, the greatest impact on REM sleep appeared to be during the new moon.”
The study suggests that the brain is more susceptible to external disturbances when the moon is full.
“The purpose of our original study was to examine the way that noise disturbs sleep,” Smith explained. “Re-analysis of our data showed that sensitivity, measured as reactivity of the cerebral cortex, is greatest during the full moon.”
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