Does the moon really affect our actions?

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While the full moon cannot turn people into werewolves, some people do accuse it of causing a bad night’s sleep or creating physical and mental alterations. But is there any science behind these myths?

To establish if lunar phases somehow do affect humans, an international group of researchers studied children to see if their sleeping patterns changed or if there were any differences in their daily activities. The results were published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.

“We considered that performing this research on children would be particularly more relevant because they are more amenable to behaviour changes than adults and their sleep needs are greater than adults,” said Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput, from the Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

The study was completed on a total of 5,812 children from five continents. The children came from a wide range of economic and sociocultural levels, and variables such as age, sex, highest parental education, day of measurement, body mass index score, nocturnal sleep duration, level of physical activity and total sedentary time were considered.

The findings obtained in the study revealed that in general, nocturnal sleep duration around full moon compared to new moon reported an average decrease of five minutes (or a one per cent variant). No other activity behaviours were substantially modified.

“Our study provides compelling evidence that the moon does not seem to influence people’s behaviour. The only significant finding was the one per cent sleep alteration in full moon, and this is largely explained by our large sample size that maximises statistical power,” said Chaput.

 The clinical implication of sleeping five minutes less during full moon does not represent a considerable threat to health. “Overall, I think we should not be worried about the full moon. Our behaviours are largely influenced by many other factors like genes, education, income and psychosocial aspects rather than by gravitational forces,” he added.

 

 

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