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Full moon can shorten children’s sleep a little

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Toronto: While the full moon does not make kids hyperactive – as commonly believed – it may decrease their sleep time by five minutes on an average, says a study.

However, the clinical implication of sleeping five minutes less during full moon does not represent a considerable threat to health, the researchers pointed out.

“Overall, I think we should not be worried about the full moon. Our behaviours are largely influenced by many other factors like genes, education, income and psychosocial aspects rather than by gravitational forces,” said one of the researchers, Jean-Philippe Chaput from the Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Canada.

To explore whether lunar phases somehow do affect humans, the international group of researchers studied children to see if their sleeping patterns changed or if there were any differences in their daily activities.

“We considered that performing this research on children would be particularly more relevant because they are more amenable to behaviour changes than adults and their sleep needs are greater than adults,” Chaput explained.

The study was conducted on 5,812 children from five continents. The children came from a wide range of economic and socio-cultural levels, and variables such as age, sex, highest education, day of measurement, body mass index score, nocturnal sleep duration, level of physical activity and total sedentary time were considered.

Data collection took place over 28 months, which is equivalent to the same number of lunar cycles.

These were then subdivided into three lunar phases — full moon, half-moon and new moon.

The findings obtained in the study revealed that in general, nocturnal sleep duration around full moon compared to new moon reported an average decrease of five minutes or roughly one percent less than the typical number of hours they get in ordinary nights.

No other activity behaviours were substantially modified, the findings showed.

“The only significant finding was the one percent sleep alteration in full moon, and this is largely explained by our large sample size that maximises statistical power,” Chaput said.

The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.

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