Popular belief holds that the lunar cycle affects human physiology, behavior, and health, including sleep. To date, only a few and conflicting analyses have been published about the association between lunar phases and sleep. Our aim was to analyze the relationship between lunar phases and sleep characteristics.
In this retrospective, cross-sectional analysis, data from 319 patients who had been referred for sleep study were included. Individuals with apnea-hypopnea index ≥ 15/h were excluded. Socio-demographic parameters were recorded. All participants underwent one-night standard polysomnography. Associations between lunar cycle (new moon, full moon and alternate moon) and sleep parameters were examined in unadjusted and adjusted models.
Fifty-seven percent of patients were males. Mean age for men was 45 ± 14 years and 51 ± 12 years for women. In total, 224 persons had their sleep study done during alternate moon, 47 during full moon, and 48 during new moon. Full moon was associated with lower sleep efficiency [median (%) (IQR): new moon 82 (18), full moon 74 (19), alternate moon 82 (15); P < 0.001], less deep sleep [median (%) (IQR): new moon 9 (9), full moon 6 (4), alternate moon 11 (9); P < 0.001], and increased REM latency [median (min) (IQR): new moon 98 (74), full moon 137 (152), alternate moon 97 (76); P < 0.001], even after adjustment for several covariables.
The results are consistent with a recent report and the widely held belief that sleep characteristics may be associated with the full moon.