The full moon has always been associated with several myths. It has already been said that it influences hair growth, alters the functioning of the body and mind and can make animals more furious (hence the legend of the werewolf), for example.
Seeking to clarify the truths behind beliefs like these, studies published this Wednesday (27), in the journal Science Advances, addressed two theories very present in the popular imagination.
One of them is that the full moon influences sleep, something that in the past has been associated with the brightest light of this phase, disturbing people to sleep. The other is her controversial relationship to menstrual cycles, arising from the beliefs of ancient civilizations.
What did science discover about these two relationships?
The full moon and sleep
Research that has shown how sleep cycles appear to change as the lunar phase was carried out by scientists at the universities of Washington and Yale, in the United States, and Quilmes, in Argentina. Using wrist devices to monitor sleep, they followed 464 students from Seattle, in the United States, and 98 members from three Argentine indigenous communities.
Comparing data from these groups, they came to the conclusion that people tend to lie down later and sleep less on the nights before the full moon. Although the effect is greatest in communities without electricity, it is also present in urban areas, according to the study.
Scientists further reported that on the nights before the full moon there was more light in the night sky after dusk, with the crescent moon becoming brighter.
“Our hypothesis is that the observed patterns are an innate adaptation that allowed our ancestors to take advantage of this natural source of night light that occurred at a specific time during the lunar cycle,” wrote University of Washington professor Leandro Casiraghi, co-author of the research. .