The moon affects human sleep, says a study published on March 24 in the journal Frontiers in Paediatrics. An international team of scientists found that sleep duration during a full moon decreased up to five minutes, about one percent, compared to sleep during a new moon.

However, the researcher points out that this five-minute decrease on a full moon is not enough to harm anybody’s health. Moreover, they assert that further studies are still needed to explain the link between the lunar cycle and one’s bodily functions.

“Our study provides compelling evidence that the moon does not seem to influence people’s behaviour. The only significant finding was the one percent sleep alteration during the full moon, and this is largely explained by our large sample size that maximises statistical power,” says Jean-Philippe Chaput from the Eastern Ontario Research Institute. “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.”

full moon

Children sleep for five minutes lesser during a full moon than a new moon. Credit: Pixabay/dagon

The study revealed that there is nothing mysterious about the moon despite the popular belief that lunar cycles affect one’s mental health. Still, the research team maintains that their findings won’t reduce the fascination about the moon.

The study involved 5,812 children from five continents. The researchers explain that children were invited for the test because they are more responsive to behaviour changes and their sleep needs are greater than those of adults.

The children’s economic levels, sociocultural levels, age, sex, their parent’s highest education attained, day of measurement, body mass index (BMI), sleep duration per night as well as their total sedentary time and level of physical activity have all been taken into account. The study lasted for 28 months, equivalent to the same number of lunar cycles, which included lunar phases like the full moon, half-moon, and new moon.