Dali full moon to change how we sleep? Does it sync with menstrual cycles?
What may sound like old-school myths may actually contain some truth. People go to bed later and sleep less hours before the full moon and menstrual cycles appears to be temporarily synchronized with lunar cycles, scientists found in two new studies.
Throughout history, people have associated our daily lives with the changing sky, especially the changing faces of the moon. Lore surrounding lunar phases varies from full moons, inciting werewolves, to the lunar cycle, which affects how we feel and our daily moods.
But, strangely, several of these lofty tales seem to have roots in real science.
Connected: The moon: 1
I sleep with a full moon
In a study published today (January 27) in the journal Science Advances, a team of scientists from the University of Washington, the National University of Kilms in Argentina and Yale University show how sleep cycles seem to change with the lunar cycle.
They found that on days leading to a full moon, people tend to sleep later and sleep fewer hours. For this work, the team studied students in Seattle, Washington, and also with those living in local communities in northern Argentina, two different environments where there is diversity in individual access to electricity because of how artificial light can affect participants.
Using wrist sleep monitors, they studied 98 individuals living in three local Toba-Qom communities in Formosa, Argentina, and additionally used sleep data from 464 students in the Seattle area (student data were originally collected for a separate study) .
The team found that although the link between sleep cycles and lunar cycles is slightly more apparent in communities without access to electricity, the link seems to still be present in areas with electricity.
“We see clear lunar modulation of sleep, with a decrease in sleep and later sleep onset in the days before the full moon,” lead author Horacio de la Iglesia, a professor of biology at the University of Washington. said in a statement. “And although the effect is stronger in communities without access to electricity, the effect is present in communities with electricity, including students at the University of Washington.”
In these groups, they showed that the nights leading to a full moon were when people slept the least and went to bed at the latest. Those nights also had more light the night sky after dusk, when the rising moon became brighter.
“We hypothesize that the patterns we observe are an innate adaptation that allowed our ancestors to take advantage of this natural source of evening light that appeared at a specific time during the lunar cycle,” study author Leandro Casiraghi said. researcher at the University of Washington in the Department of Biology.
Menstrual and lunar cycles
Sleep cycles are not the only human function that appears to be affected by the moon, scientists say. This is not a new concept. In fact, for a long time people have suggested that there is a connection between the lunar and menstrual cycles, some myths even suggest that fertility and lunar cycles have some connection, a contradictory story.
In a separate study, also published today in Science Advances, researchers have shown that while all the myths surrounding this relationship do not linger, there may be some connection between the menstrual cycle and the lunar cycle.
By analyzing the records of the menstrual cycle, which 22 women kept for up to 32 years. They examined long-term data on the beginning of the menstrual cycle with data averaging 15 years and including information from women under and over 35 years of age. They compared these data with fluctuations in lunar cycles to see how the two came together.
They found that of the participating women, those whose menstrual cycles lasted more than 27 days showed “periodically synchronized with cycles that affect the intensity of moonlight.” according to a statement. The team found that this synchronization was slowly lost over time as participants grew older, and found that the connection was reduced with increased exposure to artificial light.
In particular, they concluded that “the menstrual cycle is also consistent with the tropical month (27.32 days, during which the moon passes twice through the same equinox) 13.1% of the time in women aged 35 and younger and 17.7% of the time in women over the age of 35, suggesting that menstruation is also affected by the displacement of the moon’s gravimetric forces, “the statement said.
Email Chelsea God at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.