Effects of lunar phase on sleep in men and women in Surrey

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Recently, evidence has emerged that the phases of the moon may modulate subjective sleep quality and polysomnographically assessed sleep structure in humans. We aimed to explore further the putative effects of circa-lunar periodicity (˜29.5 days) on subjective and objective parameters of human sleep in a retrospective analysis. The baseline sleep recordings of 205 (91 males and 114 females; mean age = 47.47 years, standard deviation =19.01; range: 20–84 years) healthy and carefully screened participants who participated in two clinical trials in the Surrey Clinical Research Centre were included in the analyses. Sleep was recorded in windowless sleep laboratories. For each study night, we calculated the distance, in days, to the date of the closest full moon phase and based on this distance, classified sleep records in three lunar classes. Univariate analysis of variance with factors lunar class, age and sex was applied to each of 21 sleep parameters. No significant main effect for the factor lunar class was observed for any of the objective sleep parameters and subjective sleep quality but some significant interactions were observed. The interaction between lunar class and sex was significant for total sleep time, Stage 4 sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Separate analyses for men and women indicated that in women total sleep time, Stage 4 sleep and REM sleep were reduced when sleep occurred close to full moon, whereas in men REM duration increased around full moon. These data provide limited evidence for an effect of lunar phase on human sleep.

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