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Keywords:

  • circalunar;
  • meteorology;
  • moon;
  • sleep duration;
  • sleep pattern

Summary

Popular belief holds that the lunar cycle affects human physiology, behaviour and health. We examined the influence of moon phase on sleep duration in a secondary analysis of a feasibility study of mobile telephone base stations and sleep quality. We studied 31 volunteers (18 women and 13 men, mean age 50 years) from a suburban area of Switzerland longitudinally over 6 weeks, including two full moons. Subjective sleep duration was calculated from sleep diary data. Data were analysed using multiple linear regression models with random effects. Mean sleep duration was 6 h 49 min. Subjective sleep duration varied with the lunar cycle, from 6 h 41 min at full moon to 7 h 00 min at new moon (P < 0.001). Average sleep duration was shortened by 68 min during the week compared with weekends (P < 0.001). Men slept 17 min longer than women (P < 0.001) and sleep duration decreased with age (P < 0.001). There was also evidence that rating of fatigue in the morning was associated with moon phase, with more tiredness (P = 0.027) at full moon. The study was designed for other purposes and the association between lunar cycle and sleep duration will need to be confirmed in further studies.