Under the Hood

Does The Moon Really Affect Our Mental Health?

"The moon had been observing the earth close-up longer than anyone," Haruki Murakami, a renowned author, wrote in one of his novels.

“It must have witnessed all of the phenomena occurring – and all the acts carried out – on this Earth,” he added.

And for various reasons, the same can be said for us to the Moon. We’ve always looked at the Moon, either for guidance, for science or simply because we admire how it looks against the night sky. Previous humans have worshipped it as a deity and scientists have placed actual humans on it.

The natural satellite also seems to have a natural connection with our planet, being responsible for the rise and ebb of the tides, and even influencing some animals to reproduce during its peak. But if it does all this for nature, does it do anything for us as well? Specifically, does it affect our mental and physical health?

Mental Health

It’s a common notion that the full moon makes people more aggressive (read: werewolves). English words that connote the word “mad” such as “lunatic” and” moony” have Moon-based roots as well. Lastly, a previous research stated that psychiatric facilities admit more people during the full Moon.

Per scientists however, there is no scientific evidence that properly supports this and that our behavior is something we should control ourselves.

Sleep

Another widely-held belief is that the full Moon can interrupt our sleep and cause insomnia.

In 2013, a group of researchers explored this and found through a study that people generally slept lighter than usual during a full moon. However, the researchers weren’t able to find out how the lunar cycle directly affects our sleeping patterns.

Menstrual Cycles

One of the most common beliefs today is that the lunar cycle influences women’s fertility windows, with various phone apps even synchronizing menstruation with the cycles of the moon.

However, the idea for this mostly came from the fact that the lunar cycle lasts 28 days, roughly the same time as a woman’s menstrual cycle. However, this isn’t always true since menstrual cycles can either last longer or shorter.

moon-1527501_960_720 A photo of Earth's moon. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)

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