Study says the moon could be making you stay up late and sleep less

The moon could be making you stay up late and sleep less, according to a new study.

The research, published in Science Advances on Wednesday, found that in the days leading up to a full moon, people go to bed later and sleep less.

On average, study participants went to bed 30 minutes later and slept 50 minutes less on nights before a full moon, according to study co-author Horacio de la Iglesia, professor at the department of biology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Researchers fitted each participant with a sleep monitor on their wrist to track their sleep schedules over the course of one to two lunar cycles.

A lunar cycle takes 29.5 days to complete.

A total of 98 people from three different Toba Indigenous communities, also known as the Qom people, in Argentina, participated in the study.

In the days leading up to a full moon, the light from the moon after sunset is bright, said study coauthor Leandro Casiraghi, postdoctoral scholar at the department of biology at the University of Washington.

Casiraghi commented: "We believe this modulation aims to take advantage of such moonlit nights which may be good for safe outdoor activities such as hunting or fishing, or for engaging in social interactions with other groups."

During the study, the first community had no access to electricity, the other had some access to electricity, while the third had full access to electricity.

There was a strong pattern that showed they all went to bed later and slept less in the days leading up to a full moon, despite their electricity use.

In the urban community, it was found participants went to bed even later and slept less than the participants in rural communities.

Casiraghi said he was surprised that the urban community was affected because he had hypothesised only people in the rural communities would be affected by the lunar phases.

"The fact that this modulation was present even in communities with full access to electric light suggests that these effects are mediated by something other than moonlight itself," he said.

After collecting the data from Toba/Qom communities, researchers compared their results with sleep data that was collected from 464 Seattle students for another study and found the same sleeping pattern.

Seems like you'll need to catch up on your sleep before the next full moon.

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