“It must be the moon”—the newest excuse for why you’re tired today
Moonstruck madness has long been relegated to the annals of folklore, but new findings raise questions about if the moon may actually hold some sway over human sleep patterns. At the very least, it would be a promising explanation for why you’re tired today.
A new study finds that around the full moon humans get less shut-eye and their slumber is not as deep, even if sleep is restricted to windowless rooms free of environmental and time-based cues—such as those found in a sleep lab. The findings, published today in Current Biology, suggest that restful sleep takes a hit during a full moon as well as a few days before and after the phase. Still, no one has any idea why that would occur or what biological mechanism could be at work. The authors found that during and for the few days around the full moon—the period in its monthly phase cycle when it is brightest and appears in the sky from sunset to sunrise—it takes about five minutes longer to fall asleep, sleep duration is reduced by 20 minutes and slumber is not as deep.