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Full moon may mean less sleep

Slumber waxes and wanes along with lunar rhythm

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3:28pm, July 25, 2013

A full moon deprives people of sleep even when they are shielded from moonlight in a windowless lab, a new study suggests.

People snoozed less deeply within four nights of a full moon than during other parts of the lunar cycle, researchers report July 25 in Current Biology. The authors suggest that humans may have internal clocks that track the lunar cycle, much like circadian clocks that sync up with the rise and fall of the sun.

Christian Cajochen of the University of Basel in Switzerland and his colleagues reanalyzed sleep data they had collected over several years from 33 people who had each spent several days half-reclining in bed under constant dim light. Looking at only the second night of each participant’s stay, the researchers found that around the full moon, participants took about five extra minutes to nod off, slept for about 20 minutes less each night and slept less deeply.

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