Something besides werewolves and vampires is evidently busy during the full moon, according to sleep studies done at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Busy disturbing your sleep, that is.
Personally, I want to know if Ol’ Man Moon has been responsible for my weird bouts of dreaming the past couple of nights while he raged in full force. Here’s the skinny:
In the 2013 study, Professor Christian Cajochen of the University of Basel’s Psychiatric Hospital and his team studied 33 volunteers of various ages, both male and female, while they slept in the laboratory. Their brain patterns were monitored, along with eye movements and more.
Results showed that during the full moon, brain activity during sleep fell by 30 percent; it took people five minutes longer to fall asleep while they awoke 20 minutes earlier. Levels of melatonin, a sleep hormone, also fell during this lunar cycle.
A lot of this can be traced to earlier human days when we were more dependent on the lunar cycle and the relative light patterns at night. Our systems long ago adapted to these patterns and have been regulating our sleep routines ever since, according to researchers. This is commonly called our circalunar clock.
What about those weird dreams plaguing me; are they thanks to Mr. Moon?
“We also gathered other data, such as how many dreams they [participants] had, and also cognition,” observed Professor Cajochen. “So it could also be that the lunar phase, besides sleep, can impact on your feeling, mood, and cognitive performance. But this has to be tested in very similar circumstances as we did for sleep.”
Overall, there’s not much we can do about it. Chimes in Professor Jim Horne of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in Great Britain: “We have to somehow accept that we don’t sleep as well during full moons as opposed to other lunar phases. It’s a characteristic that you cannot easily change.”
What you can change are sleep problems related to sleep deprivation from chronic snoring and/or sleep apnea. You need to see a sleep professional as soon as you can if your days are compromised by sleep-deprived fatigue symptoms.