North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Community News Network

July 26, 2013

Blaming full moon for sleep troubles not seen as lunacy

LONDON — A full moon may be to blame for sleepless nights after all.

Scientists at the University of Basel, Switzerland say they have found the first reliable evidence that sleep patterns are influenced by lunar changes. The study, published in Current Biology, shows brain activity related to deep sleep in volunteers dropped by 30 percent around the full moon. The study subjects also took longer to fall asleep and had shorter nights.

"It could be important," said Eric Chudler, executive director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. The researchers aren't "saying the moon controls the person's sleep pattern, they're saying the body has an internal clock that's similar to the lunar cycle. It's different to the traditional myth."

The full moon has been blamed for murder and mayhem since ancient times. The term lunacy was coined in the 16th century to refer to an intermittent form of insanity believed to be related to the moon. For generations, people around the world have passed down tales of werewolves and other moon-related curses. Scientists have attempted over the years to discover a link between the satellite's impact and human behavior. These latest findings may provide a boost to the field.

Researchers at the Centre for Chronobiology at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel originally set out to examine 33 volunteers' circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental and behavioral changes that respond to light and darkness over a 24-hour cycle.

One evening at a pub several years later, the research team began talking about how the moon, which was shining full that night, could affect sleep. Christian Cajochen, head of the Centre for Chronobiology, said he came to realize several of the scientists believed there could be an impact. The team decided to go back over their study data, which included electroencephalograms of patients' non-rapid-eye-movement sleep and hormone secretions related to sleep, and match it up with a lunar calendar.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014