Many negative influences are attributed to the Earth's satellite: it is customary to explain both mood swings and bursts of crime with the phases of the moon. Biologists at the University of Washington have conducted a study and found that the moon clearly affects human sleep - whether artificial light sources are available to us or not. About this writes Daily Mail.
Using wrist monitors, the researchers monitored the sleep of 98 people from three indigenous communities in Argentina for one to two months. One community did not have access to electricity, the second had limited access, and the third were city dwellers and had full access to artificial light.
Participants in all three communities showed the same pattern of sleep fluctuations as the Moon passed through its 29.5-day cycle. The duration of sleep in different phases of the cycle differed by 20-90 minutes, and the time spent in bed - by 30-80 minutes. The peak of short nap and late bedtime was in the three to five days preceding the full moon, and the opposite was in the nights preceding the new moon.
The data came as a surprise to the study authors, who expected less sleep and more activity on a full moon. However, the result is understandable: on the night before the full moon, most of the moonlight falls on the first half of the night.
The researchers compared the results with data collected from 464 students at the University of Washington and found the same fluctuations in sleep patterns. That is, human sleep turned out to be synchronized with the lunar phases, regardless of ethnic and socio-cultural origin and level of urbanization. We may think that we have learned to control nature, including through the use of artificial light, but in reality there are forces from the influence of which we cannot escape, the authors summarize.
The research is published in the journal Science Advances.