The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Lunar Curiosity

full moon yawnHoo boy, this insomnia is getting to me, ever since we lost the hour last weekend. I know other folks who are similarly affected. You wouldn’t think missing one hour would make such an impact, but apparently it does.

Add to that, the moon is full. I can usually count on at least one night of restless broken sleep during this phase. This month so far I tally two* nights lost.

So. While I was tossing and turning last night, I recalled a post I had read on Paul’s blog, about personality types and introverts and the like. He posted links to personality tests, so I gave it a whirl. I’m still an introvert (no surprise there.)

Then that got me thinking about Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person which I read in the late 1990’s. She introduced me to the concept of introversion and a heightened sensitivity to my physical environment.

Physical environment, eh? I wonder. We know that the moon is powerful enough to affect the tides. Does it affect sleep patterns? Dr. Google, what do you say?

A July 2013 study carried out at the University of Basel in Switzerland suggests a correlation between the full moon and human sleep quality. Stringently controlled laboratory conditions, in a cross-sectional setting, were employed to exclude confounding effects such as increased light at night or the potential bias in perception. Measures of lunar influence on sleep structure, electroencephalographic activity during non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), and secretion of the hormones melatonin and cortisol, were retrospectively analyzed. At no point, during and after the study, were volunteers or investigators aware of the posteriori analysis relative to lunar phase. Around full moon it was found that electroencephalogram (EEG) delta activity during NREM sleep, an indicator of deep sleep, decreased by 30%, time to fall asleep increased by five minutes, and EEG-assessed total sleep duration was reduced by 20 minutes. These changes were associated with a decrease in subjective sleep quality and diminished endogenous melatonin levels. Cajochen said: “The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not ‘see’ the Moon and is not aware of the actual moon phase.”

I “rest” my case.

Nap time.

PS  Make that three.




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23 replies

  1. The lunar cycle is fascinating – the full moon is also (I think, though I would have to double-check with Dr Google) associated with more violence and increased numbers presenting to hospital (through accident and emergency depts / emergency rooms). Crazy! 😉


  2. I like the pics that went with this post! I too have been having sleep issues since the time change (I loathe, LOATHE, daylight savings!) and find myself groggy all day. I learned awhile back that up until the 1800s or so, people used to have two sleep cycles: they would fall asleep for a few hours after dusk, wake up for an hour or two, sometimes even visiting neighbors, then go back to sleep for a few more hours. But now we try to sleep in one long stretch and many of us can’t do it. Although, I’m pretty sure if my kids were sleeping right now, I’d be more than happy to get in a good snooooooooooooooozzzzzzzeeeeeeeee . . . . . . . . . . . .


  3. I have yet to find anyone who’s in favour of it. Well, yeah, I like having daylight later in the day, but this year, big deal. Now I can enjoy watching the snowbanks defy spring, that’s all.
    That’s an interesting bit of 1800’s sleep trivia, there. I feel really weird heading for the couch to nap when the sun is barely over the horizon. That said, I do get up at 5:30 in the morning, so I suppose I can allow myself a catnap or three during the day. Aren’t the graphics charming? Glad you like!


  4. Drop a couple of hits of acid, or eat some mushrooms. Then spread swamp mud all over your body, throw rocks at the moon and it will go away.
    Works for me….


  5. Dang! The swamps are still frozen! Thanks for the recipe, though. I’ll keep that in mind. 😉


  6. I secretly rigged the test to make everyone INFP! 😉


  7. It’s true here in Ireland also (Lydia’s comment about the A & E numbers going up).
    It makes sense that it does have an effect, when we consider that the human body is 70% water (so is the earth, i think). The Moon causes the tides to ebb and flow, so it makes sense that it pulls on the water in us also.
    Sweet dreams.


  8. Funny… funny comments! Love these pics too. 🙂
    I’m so sensitive to light that I have to cover the tiny red dot of light on the smoke detector with a thick piece of tape. And when the light is really strong (as in full moon), I wear a comfy, awesome sleep mask that looks like girl frog eyes 😉
    Wishing you a good night!


  9. Most enjoyable post, and I fully agree with your sentiments. Even when I don’t know where the moon is at, I look it up later and find it was a full moon on the night I was restless, or having difficulty sleeping.
    Fascinating! Also when I was teaching we were always aware that there could be heightened problems with our intellectually disabled students at the time of a full moon. Loved your images of the moon, thank you!


    • Thank you! I’m delighted you enjoyed! I’ve had the same experience. Sure enough, if I can’t sleep, one look at the lunar calendar explains it.

      I hate to say this out loud since I’m surround here at home by all sorts of academic types, but I think the science quoted above that discounts the lunar effect needs to be reworked. There is just too much anecdotal evidence to support it. I think.


  10. Great post and whimsical pics, Maggie! I certainly WISH I could scapegoat that lost hour to my insomnia because that would mean when we gain it back, my insomnia will disappear, but I know that you know, that I have no such luck. (Following that?) Or my name wouldn’t be Little Miss Menopause!


    • I’ve missed you, Miss! Glad to see you back on the boards! Yes, I do follow you. (hehehe in more ways than one!) Touch wood, my meno-related insomnia seems to have paused. See how clever I am first thing in the morning? Ah, caffeine!


  11. I have fibromylagia which affects my sleep all the time. I’ll have to see the next time there is a full moon if it changes that in any way. Fascinating post! Thank you. 🙂


  12. Hi Jackie, and thanks. I know what it’s like not to sleep during episodes of acute pain, but to have to deal on a chronic basis, that is a burden I do not know. I hope you can find some relief?



  1. Early to Bed | The Zombies Ate My Brains
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