You’ve probably heard countless rumors over the years about full moon effects and what it means to different people. From statements about the “natives” becoming restless on full moon nights to theories about the impact of the moon on wild animals, there are plenty of rumors floating around about what the full moon can do. Even language has incorporated the moon into expressions of craziness such as lunatic and lunacy, which both have lunar roots. Many people also claim that full moon effects on mood are substantial. But, how you separate fact from fiction when determining exactly what it is the full moon really does?
History of Full Moon Rumors
It’s important to understand a few key details regarding the full moon. First of all, many of the rumors you hear today are based on years of history. In days long ago, electric lighting wasn’t commonplace in homes or on streets. Full moons provided additional lighting for nocturnal activities that were not normally conducted due to poor visibility. Many strange accidents and incidents occurred on nights when the moon was full simply because there were more people out and about on these nights. Of course, in these older times, science had not yet evolved enough to account for that. Therefore, the people who were called upon to aid in correcting these strange incidents such as law enforcement and medical practitioners began to believe that the incidents were, in fact, tied to the moon. Still, some people believe they suffer from insomnia, sleep walking, or have night terrors on the night of the full moon.
Proving or Disproving Full Moon Rumors
One by one, over the years, many rumors associated with full moons have been disproven. However, a recent study conducted by the Department of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Berne in Switzerland called “Sleepless night, the moon is bright: longitudinal study of lunar phase and sleep” has uncovered evidence suggesting that there is evidence of a higher fatigue rating with the full moon. The goal of the study was to determine full moon effects on sleep, or rather sleep duration.
Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center conducted a study of 11,940 cases and determined that emergency room visits for cats were 23 percent higher and dogs were 28 percent higher on days surrounding full moons. However, the cause of these instances was not determined. It could simply be that the owners were taking their animals out more on these nights or staying out longer on these nights due to improved visibility.
Many rumors over the years such as those involving higher crime rates, psychiatric admissions, and even emergency room visits (of the human variety) have not held out when compared to the actual facts and records of these nights. In fact, no full moon effects on behavior have been conclusively discovered.
It’s important to mention that further studies will need to be conducted in order to confirm the data results from these studies. But they do open the door to the possibility that at least one rumor concerning the full moon is true. That said, the jury is still out on the exact full moon effects on humans. The one thing we do know is that the full moon effects has been the source of rumors and speculation for centuries. That doesn’t look to change anytime soon.
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