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July 26th, 2013
09:14 AM ET

Full moon may disrupt sleep, study says

You don't have to be a werewolf to feel restless when the full moon rises.

A new study in the journal Current Biology suggests that people tend to get lower quality sleep around the time of full moons, snoozing an average of 20 minutes less than they do during a new moon.

"If you ask people, at least in Switzerland, about 40% report feeling the moon during sleep, or they blame the full moon for bad sleep," said lead study author Christian Cajochen of the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel in Switzerland.

That's why he and his colleagues decided to investigate.

The study

The study included 33 healthy volunteers, between ages 20 and 74. Participants slept under strictly controlled conditions in a laboratory with no windows, so they had no way of seeing the moon. They stayed in the laboratory for 3½ days. Humidity and temperature were controlled.

Neither the participants nor the researchers knew, at the time of the experiment, that the phase of the moon would become part of the study. This decision reduced any bias that either group may have introduced regarding the moon - but also presented the drawback that the study didn't look at all phases of the moon's cycle.

The data come from an experiment done 10 years ago; Cajochen and colleagues didn't analyze the results in terms of lunar patterns until several years after they did the study and waited to publish until now.

The results

The full moon was associated with a 20-minute reduction of total sleep time, the study authors found.

Researchers also found that it took about five minutes longer for participants to fall asleep around a full moon than around a new moon. Deep sleep was, on average, 30% decreased around the time of a full moon.

People sleeping in the lab nearer to the day of a full moon also had lower evening levels of melatonin, a hormone important to circadian rhythm that drives the body's cycles of day and night and, therefore, wakefulness and sleep.

"We have evidence that the distance to the nearest full-moon phase significantly influences human sleep and evening melatonin levels when measured under strictly controlled laboratory conditions, where factors such as light and personal moon perception can be excluded," the study authors wrote.

Study limitations

The number of participants in the study was small so the results may not apply to wider population. Also, the researchers didn't control what volunteers were exposed to in the week before the study; their individual environments could have influenced their sleep habits.

Generally, the methods and analyses in this experiment are solid, said Philip Gehrman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study.

In graduate school, Gehrman analyzed data about the sleep habits of older adults with Alzheimer's disease in nursing homes to see if lunar cycles had an effect. He didn't find one, but "the nurses would swear that the patients became more agitated and slept worse during a full moon," he told CNN in an e-mail.

Conclusions

The Current Biology study wasn't set up to find out why the full moon may interfere with sleep, but Cajochen speculated the human brain may have an internal clock that is somehow synchronized with the moon. Scientists already know about circadian rhythms. There may also be a clock that's driven by lunar cycles.

Some marine species have been shown to have reproductive patterns that sync up with lunar cycles, Cajochen noted.

"We don't know whether humans still have it and why," he said.

Further research would be necessary to confirm these findings - for instance, functional magnetic resonance imaging could help scientists figure out what's going on in the brain during sleep at various stages of the lunar cycle.

To find more proof than this study, the experiment would need to be conducted over on a longer period of time, Cajochen said. Already this study required participants to be observed in the lab for 3½ days; to build on this research, people would have to stay in the controlled setting for at least 30 days to cover an entire lunar cycle.

"That would be the ultimate study, but it's going to be very expensive," he said.

More: Acting out dreams while asleep


soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Patricia Burlage

    I definitely agree with the nurses! My mom who had Alzheimer's would also become more restless and agitated during the full moon and the waxing gibbous moon as well. The only thing that actually helped her was a 10 mg dose of melatonin before bedtime! Alzheimer patients are the perfect subject since they can't show any bias!

    July 26, 2013 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      The OBSERVER has bias. Did she ONLY have problems during a full moon? I doubt it, and that means you would either be completely oblivious, or you were learning to ignore the moon status when there was no correlation, but if it happened to be a full moon (or close to it) during one of her many disturbances, you think "aha!" because it fits the cliche.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Ignore Carl; he gets like this whenever the moon is full. Barking at people, shedding opinions, and scratching at our nerves. Someone needs to take him for a walk soon or he'll make a mess.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      That explains it. I had a terrible night sleep last night. And I'm a poor, light sleeper to begin with. In fact I go to bed 9-10 hours to make the 7-8 hour sleep I need to function.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Moon or no moon, I hardly sleep. But it could be also a high dose of caffeine in my system. I like many drink excessive amounts of caffeine which keeps us up too long. My average is 5.5 hours a night out of 8 hours even though I pretend to sleep from 8pm to 4am.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hamza

      marijuana is the answer trust me!!!

      July 26, 2013 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • My2Sense4U

      @hamza, that is actually not true. According to a University study (and I quote from it) "Researchers compared the sleep patterns of experienced marijuana users and non-marijuana users. The studies found reduced eye movement activity, less REM sleep, and less SWS or slow wave sleep with the marijuana users. Some marijuana users report decreased dreaming or not dreaming at all. With abstinence or decreased marijuana use, vivid dreaming and/or a return to regular dreaming during sleep is a healthy sign that your body is returning to a normal sleep pattern."

      July 26, 2013 at 10:50 | Report abuse |
    • JT

      I'd have a hard time going to bed that early and getting up so early, too. It would probably help if others in the house had the same sleep schedule. I know it's always harder for me to go to bed when the person I'm with stays up late, though I'm usually pretty tired by that point.

      @hamza – always worked for me

      @My2Sense – if you toke up right before you go to sleep, your body doesn't seem to get much out of those first few hours. Generally speaking, most regular users don't stay high that long due to tolerance, so it won't last the entire time you're sleeping but will contribute to overall less effective rest. That being said, missing out on the first hour or so of sleep is probably equivalent to lying awake in bed in that you aren't really resting either way. It's the same way with alcohol for me, though I think that drinking takes a much heavier toll on you.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      My2, he probably means as a pain mitigator or anodyne. The mods probably won't let me say an lgesic.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • a scientist

      JT, using cannabis means you are putting hundreds of active chemicals in your body, which all do their own things to you. Also, delta9tetrahydrocannabinol doesn't just produce a "high", it has other spillover effects that can definitely include disruption of sleep-related brain activity. When you drink alcohol, does it just make you sleepy or does it make your skin flush, your kidneys work overtime, your cognitive function diminish and blur your perception? Do all those things last the same duration or does each effect last different periods of time? Cannabis is no different. Be careful about self-medication.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      My problem is the television. Even as a kid, I would be fighting to the death to stay up WAY past my bedtime to watch one show or another and that was long before cable came to our home.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
  3. Ray

    It's true. Ever since I was a child, I remember having problem falling asleep and/or sleeping during a full moon. It wasn't until I was older that I was able to make the correlation. Even now, when I can't fall asleep, I will look out the window and sure enough I find either an almost full moon or a complete full moon. Also, I've know policemen who are friends who have told me that they put more people on patrol during full moons because of moe violence, more accidents, etc.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      Dude, look at your own contradiction. You claim to remember having trouble sleeping during a full moon, but only made the correlation years later? You don't remember it, you imagined it afterwards.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:24 | Report abuse |
    • Lucas

      Ignore this Carl guy, if you look around the post you can see he is clearly trying to tell others what they know and don't know ON AN INTERNET FORUM. If you don't think the moon has major effects on the Earth then you sir have no hope. The moon can effect the tides of the ocean but it's too far fetched to think it affects people? Please find the nearest Xbone vs PS4 article to argue on instead of making stupid exclamations about how people "imagined" things. How the F would you know unless you were there?? Rant over... I just hate dumb people harassing others by making everything some dumb straw man argument. You sir, are an idiot.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • stonestone2424

      Do not ignore Carl, he is the only voice of reason on this entire thread. Lucas, your slipper slope argument of "The moon can effect the tides so...fill in the blank, anything will do! Just because your answer makes you feel good does not mean it is correct. Sorry Lucas, but there appears to be no correlation between human behavior and the phases of the moon. Do some research or experimentation on the topic and chart your results. You're not going to like what you see, but too bad. That's reality. Don't believe me? Feel free to view the results of people who have charted data on the subject for years.

      http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/moon.html

      July 26, 2013 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
  4. sunflower2

    No offense to the author, but this is REALLY old news... People have known this for YEARS.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sharkmann

    When I see a full moon, it does disrupt my sleep.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • macthek9

      Yes, I've noticed that I too, lose sleep while gazing at the full moon through my bedroom skylight. Odd!

      July 26, 2013 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      Scarlett Johansen's has kept a lot of people up all night.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      Reminds me of a scene from Moonstruck. It was a full moon then too.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  6. Cecil

    Only 33 participants and 3 1/4 days in the lab? And, "Cajochen and colleagues didn't analyze the results in terms of lunar patterns until several years after they did the study and waited to publish until now?"

    Sounds like a very bad study to me. I find the fact that they waited so long analyze the results less than impressive also. If I did a study like this I'd be ostracized by my colleagues. Sure glad temperature and humidity were controlled though. LMAO

    July 26, 2013 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      I completely agree with you. To be statistically valid, you can't just consider the number of subjects in the study, but also the number of lunar cycles they measured. Too many effects could have influenced the whole set of subjects the same way. For example. what if something notable happened in the news that day, and a large percentage of the subjects watched TV or read the paper? The news could have made people more restless. Or what if the building housing the people was noisy that night? What about diet? Did they feed everyone the same meal, and did it give everyone indigestion? Unless you measure people over many lunar cycles, and reduce the potential for biases, you can't draw ANY conclusions. I can't believe the U Penn professor claims the methods in the study are sound. It also amazes me that the paper passed muster in the peer review before it was selected for publication.

      Finally, experimental trials like this should come with some ideas for theoretical underpinnings explaining the influence. The only influences the moon has on people physically comes from light and gravity (including indirect effects like tides, etc).

      July 26, 2013 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • a scientist

      Cecil, the other term for this (and recently a buzzword) is data mining. Within experiments, a lot of data are typically collected but people might only analyze one or two aspects. Later (and sometimes much later), people realize certain data have already been collected as part of the background information and it can be analyzed by anyone who has access. Re-doing the experiment again when the data already exist is dumb. I see no problem with doing data analysis off another dataset several years later. I've done that myself and I'm so glad I took lots of data when I did the original experiment.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  7. Krista

    It makes sense. Predators are probably more active during a full moon, or at least, it may be easier for them to hunt, which could explain why we sleep lighter so we can react faster to a threat.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Glenn Parker

      So you've bought into evolutionary advancement theory? It's no wonder people act like animals when we teach this nonsense! We get what we deserve.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • johndanger

      Actually a full moon makes it more difficult for predators to hunt.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:10 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      " bought into evolutionary advancement theory" Go preach Creationism somewhere else, the grownups are talking here.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
    • a scientist

      Nocturnal predators do much better during the new moon or after the moon has set as their eyesight is then better than the eyesight of their diurnal prey.

      Evoluntionary advancement? Go watch bacteria in a petri dish under various selective factors and you will see evolution before your very eyes. Go educate yourself about the genetic code and see how very much we share with all other animal life. Why do you think so many antibodies cross react between species and even diverse orders? Why does this scare you so much?

      July 26, 2013 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      Since you brought up the word "predator" once when I was driving home from work, I saw a nice fat (and presumably healthy) skunk walking merrily on the side of the road. Yes it was pitch black (it was autumn)...very cute but I did not stop the car and try to pet it. You live with skunk visitor, you live with skunk visitor smell-that's it.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  8. mjparme

    This is a ridiculous conclusion. Regardless of how much of the moon we can see (the phase of the moon) the moon is still there. There is absolutely nothing different about a new moon vs. a full moon beyond how much of it you can see.

    This is psuedo-science at its worst.

    July 26, 2013 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JT

      full moon and new moon represent a syzygy whereby the sun, earh, and moon are aligned. This caues changes in tides and thus the gravitational pull that's felt from objects in space.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • a scientist

      I guess mjparme has never heard of the menstrual cycle (28 day lunar-influenced cycle) or of tides, which profoundly affect ocean life and all life via the trans-oceanic current (controls global weather). The position of the moon even sometimes shields some of the Earth from large CME radiation which otherwise easily gets through the protective magnetosphere (see the aurora). None of this is pseudoscience. Light from moon phases also affects life on Earth in the form of plankton upwellings, mass spawning of corals, blooming of flowers. Moon phases are very important.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • mattk

      @JT
      lSynzygy describes the relationship yes but effect also happens during the new moon cycle due to the moon position only being on the opposite side. Also a synzygy occurs due to the Sun's gravitational force which essentially "enhances" the moons tidal force (spring tide).
      So by this theory people should feel the same effects from a new moon as they do with it is full. I think, I'm just going on what I know aboot gravity which isn't that much.

      July 26, 2013 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  9. mattk

    "If you ask people, at least in Switzerland, about 40% report feeling the moon during sleep, or they blame the full moon for bad sleep"
    Do these same people also believe a succubus is trying to steal their soul at night? or a boggart is making their milk spoil?
    Granted when there is a full moon my knuckles do seem the get a little hairier and I get a inkling to chase my cat around barking at her...

    July 26, 2013 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Choo

    Wow. This is some junk science right here. I conducted a study one time that found that when a rooster crows, the sun rises. I will publish those results soon proving that roosters cause the sun to rise.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mork121

    Every heard of blinders and curtains?

    July 26, 2013 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      Yes, and I do use them. It appears this research affects the body's natural rhythm much the same way the moon affects the ocean. Makes sense to me.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  12. There. Are. No. Gods!

    This is bunk. Could it have been that the participants had sleep rhythm inconsistencies because they were trying to sleep in an unfamiliar environment with wires connected to them in an unfamiliar bed? Hard to believe someone spent money for this "research".

    July 26, 2013 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      No, I was happily in my own bed, in my own room, in my own house. It is true that I have more trouble sleeping in strange environment. I even had trouble sleeping in my dad's bed when I was sick (he took over my bed when that happened) so my mother could hear me in the middle of the night. Anyway, I believe the moon affects the physical body regardless of where you are and EVEN if the windows are covered. Werewoman.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  13. C.N.N.

    Is this really news? Do you care? Please let us know.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      This is a blog. The news is over there (points). Calm down.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
  14. Hugh Jass

    My wife makes me cover it up at night so that doesn't happen.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Joe Mama

    I figured this out ages ago...

    July 26, 2013 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rob0rah

    Close the curtains and take a Lunesta.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Christine

    I'm sure there was a lot of money involved in a study where if they had just asked most women they would have come to the same conclusion.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      And the women would have said "I have cramps that week and sleep lightly."

      July 26, 2013 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • not good

      Hugh baby, menstrual cramps don't last for a week. If your wife is telling you this, you need to change something (take a shower, stop eating so much garlic/onions, learn how to use your own and her equipment, etc.).

      July 26, 2013 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  18. Ocean

    If the subjects only stayed in the laboratory for 3 1/2 days, the statistically significant discrepancies in sleep metrics could be the result of adjusting to a new setting, and could have nothing to do with the moon. For example, I find that if I was sleeping anywhere other than my home, it was the 2nd night, not the first night, that felt weird. Also, the phase of the moon must always be near full during those 3 1/2 days.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. macthek9

    I've noticed that I am extra hairy and my body shaver gets a workout during these phases. Is there a swiss study for that too or do we need to save that that portion of the study for the hairy Italians?

    July 26, 2013 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      I LOVE hairy chests and arms but I do not like beards and mustaches are negotiable. The way "some" men act, I'd rather marry a gorilla who is more civilized.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  20. macthek9

    Yes, I've noticed that I too, lose sleep while gazing at the full moon through my bedroom skylight. Odd!

    July 26, 2013 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Seyedibar

    It's light. Your eyes are open enough while sleeping to perceive light levels and subconsciously use it as an alarm clock.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Reading comprehension!! The subjects were in a windowless room.

      July 26, 2013 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Seyedibar

      The subconscious doesn't need a window every night. Just enough nights to establish a regular pattern.

      July 26, 2013 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  22. JT

    I don't see why they need 30 days of continuous study. They could just break it up into small sessions and choose one phase a month to investigate. It's all "expensive" in that none of this information really warranted a study to begin with.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jojo613

    Really?! As the mom of a child with autism and severe insomnia, I coulda told you that!

    July 26, 2013 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. EdL

    Great day in the morning! Another 'study' by 'researchers'! If the full moon may disrupt sleep then it also may not. What a 'study'!

    July 26, 2013 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Educate yourself on the scientific process and how much work has to be done before something can be proven scientifically. It is an intriguing preliminary study.

      July 26, 2013 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  25. guido ambrosi

    for me its a fact , everytime their is a full moon i cant sleep. have been having this problem for years even in a darkend room.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Robert

    The moon is always THERE. It just reflects light in differing amounts. It is an illusion that a full moon disrupts sleep.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lorraine B.

    Full moon may disrupt sleep. Then again, it may not. May is one of those funny words. For instance, I may be mauled to pieces by carnivorous woodchucks this morning. Then again, I may not. Or this afternoon, I may opt for that snazzy new pencil sharpener head haircut worn on Phineas and Ferb. But on second thought, I may not. It's all according.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jack Sparrow

    The biggest reason is Time Change due to Daylight Saving.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. gee

    I once proposed a research paper topic that would study a correlation between unusual behaviors and full moon phases. My professors laughed, saying it has already been covered many times and has become a bit of a snicker these days. I know, not very professional. Nevertheless I proceeded to review all the prior research papers JSTOR had to offer. I found every paper lacking in at least one important detail. Not one study had considered the trajectory and distance of the full moon from the geographic location of the incidents being recorded. Not all full moon events are the same over a given geographic pinpoint. A direct overhead full moon would have greater gravitational influence on your location than one that was nearer the horizon. Studies that do not take this into account and simply dismiss a behavioral correlation derived from a broad brush sample of events occurring on a full moon calendar are incomplete at best. Not saying there is a verifiable correlation but more research should be done that will carefully consider the variables. As for its influence on sleep... it seems this study is incomplete. Perhaps TBC?

    July 26, 2013 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. xnmt

    The full moon does disrupt my sleep, but the reason is because it makes the night bright and sometimes shines through the cracks in my blinds. If there's snow on the ground, it's especially bright outside.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      And I'm close enough to the highway, those lights (when it's snowing) makes the whole atmosphere as red as Mars. I've also noticed it is easier to fall sleep when it gets dark early.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  31. faithfulliberal

    This is extraordinarily bad science and reporting it makes scientists look like idiots. The moon cycle is 27+ days but the study went for just more than 10% of that time – it encompassed only three nights at best. How can any statistically significant conclusions be drawn? Further, the participants numbered only 33. So, first and foremost, going back to look at 3 days of data to search for some effect that, if it existed at all, would express itself over almost 30 days is complete nonsense.

    One of the other tenants of science is that they must make some sort of sense. During the night, the full moon is on the sleeper's side of the planet. What physical mechanism would explain these "results?" The excess gravitation attraction at midnight from a full moon (moon closest to the sleeper) and from a new moon (moon on the other side of the earth from the sleeper at midnight) is roughly 1/1000 of a Newton, or about 1/100 of an ounce of "weight" in English units.

    Do we suppose that a sleeper can detect a change of their apparent weight of 1/100 of an ounce? That's less than the weight of the thread that holds one button on your pajamas.

    Since the rooms were isolated from outside view, gravitational disturbances must be the supposed mechanism UNLESS we recognize that the study itself was flawed. To suppose that an excess force of 1/100 of an ounce can disturb sleep is ridiculous. Maybe there's some unknown radiation that comes from the moon that can penetrate the room the subjects were sleeping in and affect the human brain's sleep mechanism, but can't penetrate the earth, and has gone undetected until some study years ago in Switzerland on 33 people was massaged, looking for a lunar cycle effect. Right, and I've got a deed I can sell you so that you can own the whole galaxy.

    This is what often happens if you go digging around in very small data sets to look for some sort of supposed effect that the experiment wasn't designed to study. Statistical fluctuations in a small data set will often seem to show all kinds of correlations to nonsensical effects. That's why the people who work in experimental physics and chemistry, for example, put a great deal of effect into designing proper experiments to preclude nonsensical results.

    This whole article is a joke. The worst part of it is that some idiot decided to publish it and wind everyone up about it. It's no wonder that "science reporting" like this makes the general public think that those of us who work in science are fools.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      "Do we suppose that a sleeper can detect a change of their apparent weight of 1/100 of an ounce?" We've known forever that humans can detect the full moon. Every woman knows when it's full. Probably it's the iron in our blood reacting to the tidal pull, but honey, the moon pulls the OCEANS around with its gravity. Pretending that doesn't happen so you can attempt to fool people on an internet forum is pretty sad stuff.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • faithfulliberal

      To Hugh Jass

      People know the moon is full by LOOKING. Multiple controlled studies have been done that demonstrate that, when cut off from outside cues such as the appearance of the night sky, people rapidly lose knowledge of the phase of the moon. Folklore isn't science. If you want to believe in the tooth fairy, have fun with that. But don't just quote old wives tales and pretend they are factual.

      The reason that science is so successful is that we're pretty good at sorting out spurious nonsense from actual causation. We can use actual facts to predict new effects we haven't previously studied and to go look for them experimentally to validate our model of how we understand the workings of physics.

      Anecdotal studies are just that – stories. Your statement that "every woman knows..." is based on stories from people who look at the sky at night, see the brightness of the light in their windows at night, or read their horoscopes in the newspapers. A simple Google search will point you toward actual designed experimental trials that show that, when isolated from external clues, people soon don't know what the phase of the moon is.

      Sorry to burst your bubble "honey." Don't dress up folklore as science. Real science is hard, careful, painstaking work. Folklore is just something to talk about around the campfire.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • D

      @faithfulliberal Science does not have "tenants"; an apartment building does. Also, there have been numerous times where science has proven that our mothers/grandmothers were *right* about certain things. It just takes a while to work out the mechanism.

      July 26, 2013 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  32. Jesus

    I NEVER post on news articles, but in this case I felt it necessary to because of the amount of idiotic comments posted here (huge surprise, given CNN's typical viewer).

    The moon has affected my sleep ever since I can remember. I used to think that this was a FACT known by all people and nuisance shared by everyone, until I started getting older and self-proclaimed experts on all things started saying things like "WAT R U A WEREWOLF LOL?!11" I've tried completely ignoring the sky at night so I'd be totally oblivious to the moon's phases with no luck. And no I don't need "blinds r sumthin lol" because it has nothing to do with light disrupting sleep (full moons do happen during overcast evenings too, FYI).

    Fact of the matter is, all these people didn't get together one day and suddenly decide to tell the world that they get horrendous sleep during full moons. But that'll never be enough proof for the narrow-minded society we live in today, where we have to spend millions in research just to conclude that water is actually wet.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      Human bodies are affected by the tides; women use it to time off their menstrual periods. Anyone who doesn't know we can detect tidal pull needs to catch up. We men have a vestigial sense of it, same as we have vestigial teats.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
  33. Hugh Jass

    Women's bodies are affected by the full moon, as it influences their menstrual periods. Pretty much everybody knows this except some people here today.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lroy

      Perhaps. You should also know that women who live in the same household often get their periods more or less simultaneously. My mother and I were about a week and a half apart before she hit menopause. Now as you're a man, I will ask you to pause further comments about menstrual periods since you never have had one, but your mama has.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      Oh, Hugh. Every female of child bearing age in the world-even in the deepest part of the jungle-get their periods. Do you think ALL of them were affected by the moon....every single one? Men will use that time of the month to get out of or make excuse for whatever they accuse us females of doing.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      And I am well post menopausal. The moon still affects me, so there goes your reasoning.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  34. nimitta

    Testing people's brain function during sleep with fMRI? Hard to imagine – those machines are incredibly loud...kinda like lying in a metal tube as it's struck by hammers!

    July 26, 2013 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      I took a nap during mine. Wasn't that bad.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
  35. Jeff E.

    It's always exciting when interesting connections like this are made and we don't know why.... of course many try to pretend they do. So much we don't know about how we are connected to each other and nature and an MRI will tell you nothing except what parts of the brain may become active. The "why's" of things still elude science.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Osama

    I love it when people say muslims follow Allah, the Moon God! oh man, what a cool name for a God eh?

    July 26, 2013 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Brian

    Hey,

    I've noticed that I have lots of difficulty sleeping during the full moon also! Additionally, after the full moon, I often wake up with blood in my mouth and my sheets smell like somebody let their dog sleep in them after. Also my neighbors seem to get attacked by wolves a lot at night after full moons. I wonder if there is a connection...please help us science!

    July 26, 2013 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      Handcuff your ankle to the bedrail and your problems will magically cease. Tell your neighbors to plant wolfbane.

      July 26, 2013 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
  38. DD

    It isn't the moon. It's the light.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      No, read the article this time.

      July 26, 2013 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
  39. JS

    Submarine crews already spend months (and have for a long time) in isolated environments. I wonder if they might not be good candidates for such a study.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. BobJ

    This article ignores the most important variable- 50-65% of the human body is composed of water. One only needs to look at tidal changes to see the power of the moons gravity on water. Without this consideration this is a useless study.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      Anyone who believes humans cannot detect the moon's position any way but visually is a man. Women have built-in moonphase detection equipment.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
  41. Guest

    My mother and I noticed this phenomenon years ago. The one or two nights that we'd have trouble falling asleep; Restless, not sleepy, unable to fall asleep, almost always turned out to be a full moon night. My daughter has since noticed that she has the same issue.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. eric

    According to the Hayden Planetarium Website, an excerpt from Neil Degrasse Tyson’s keynote speech ad The Amazing Meeting 2008:
    On crazy behavior associated with a full Moon:
    People say, “Oh they acted crazy, the Moon pulls the tides, the tides are made of water, the human body is mostly water, the Moon must affect the human body.” (...) You can ask the question, what is the tidal force of the Moon on your cranium? (...) Because if that were severe, it could be messing with you, right? So you do the calculation, and it turns out, if you were one of these people who sleep with a lot of pillows, and one of the pillows is kind of leaning on your head overnight, the pressure from that pillow on your head is a trillion times greater than the tidal force of the Moon across your cranium. But nobody talks about the effects of down pillows on your behavior the next day.
    Search on youtube Neil Degrasse Tyson-THe AMazing Meeting 6 for much more...

    July 26, 2013 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      Tyson is talking about moon insanity, not moon insomnia. The study, casual though it is, tends to support what everyone already knew: people toss and turn when the moon is full. Some of us toss and turn because we are women with cramps, some of us toss and turn because we are sleeping next to a woman with cramps, and some of us just toss and turn. Me? I sleep like someone with PTSD: What was that? Snore. What was that? Snore. What was that? Who cares about the moon phase.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  43. Glenn

    How about the gravitational variance impact on physiology?

    July 26, 2013 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. werewolf1

    I love the full moon.

    July 26, 2013 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Greg

    Umm...a retrospective analysis of a decade old paper with a sample size of 33 people dealing with sleep patterns over 3.5 days. That is not evidence of anything and really serves to perpetuate a number of myths surrounding a good night's sleep.

    When academics talk about a "significant finding" we mean that the difference between 2 numbers (in this case the amount of sleep during a full moon vs. other phases) is 95% likely not to be due to chance. Here's the thing though, if you're 95% sure of something being true, you're 5% (1 out of 20) unsure. When you take an old study like this and search four 20 different correlations, you're statistically very likely to find something that you can say is "significant"

    The researchers here should be embarrassed because the methodology is laughable, but CNN should also be held accountable for posting this nonsense as scientific proof of anything. Lack of sleep is a serious public health issue with around 80% of cases currently undiagnosed which costs the country tens of billions of dollars in costs associated with workplace and traffic accidents as well as lost productivity. Giving people an excuse for bad sleep patterns ("must just be because of the full moon!") is irresponsible for a widely read publication and shows a value of sensationalism versus factual reporting.

    July 26, 2013 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ed T Duck

      95% is significant? Only in those pseudo-sciences. In particle physics, anything less than 5 sigma is noise.

      July 26, 2013 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  46. Butch

    My mother retired a police officer. She would always complain about how much busier the department was on the nights with a full moon. Arrest were up by almost 40% on nights of a full moon. This happened like clockwork.

    July 26, 2013 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Ed T Duck

    Switzerland? Well no wonder. Those people are bloodsuckers. Of course they don't like the full moon.

    July 26, 2013 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Hugh Jass

    " Giving people an excuse for bad sleep patterns ("must just be because of the full moon!") is irresponsible" because people lie down at night and look around for an excuse not to sleep? Really, an EXCUSE? What utter nonsense.

    July 26, 2013 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Fiona

    I always have trouble sleeping during full moons. I just feel restless and can't settle down enough to fall alseep, and then when I do sleep I wake up in the middle of the night.

    July 26, 2013 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Moon Lunacy

    I had a cop tell me there was more criminal activity during a full moon.

    July 26, 2013 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.