15 September 2021

When the moon hits your eye

The Back Page

The moon is a powerful thing.

After all, its gravitational pull dictates the rise and fall of our planet’s ocean tides. But for millennia, we humans have ascribed to the moon certain powers bordering on the supernatural.

There are those who say that the lunar cycle holds sway over our fertility, or that it can be correlated to sudden bouts of illness and injury. Some even say that a full moon can drive you mad, or worse yet, transform you into a terrifying, lupine beast.

Of course, conventional science has refuted most of these assertions with boring facts and figures. Until now.

According to a new study from Uppsala University, men’s sleep patterns may be more powerfully affected than women’s by the lunar cycle.

Based on one-night, at-home sleep recordings of 492 women and 360 men, researchers found that men who were recorded during the moon’s waxing period experienced worse sleep than men who were recorded during the waning period. And overall, women seemed to be largely unaffected by the phases of the moon.

One way in which the moon might affect sleep is by reflecting sunlight. During the waxing period of the lunar cycle, the moon reflects more light right around the time when people most often go to bed. And as for why men seem to be more affected, another recent study suggests that the male brain may be more responsive to ambient light than the female.

So it turns out that when the moon hits your eye – just like a big pizza pie or when you’ve had too much wine – you’ll be up all night.

If you see some lunacy, send it to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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