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Do we need moon exposure?

by (1025)
Updated about 20 hours ago
Created August 01, 2011 at 2:49 PM

I saw this touched on a bit in other threads, but wondering with all the talk of going to bed early and using black out curtains if we are losing something from not bathing in the light of the moon, so to speak.

I know moonlight will help regulate menstrual cycles, perhaps it keeps us in rhythm in other ways as well. I, for one, feel better and a bit more connected when I keep up with the moon's cycles.

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1638 · August 02, 2011 at 1:32 PM

"I think the ban on "light" at night is more to do with unnatural light in a room, rather than natural." And I think you hit the nail right on the head here. Total blackout darkness freaks me out and I don't think it is natural. We were prey as well as predators and total darkness gives me the willies and an itch between my shoulder blades like sitting with my back to the door in an office. The idea of moonlight does have romance, like Jack mentioned, and whatever physical effects come more from the gravitational pull of the moon. Personally, I like sleeping in moonlight and will continue.

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1025 · August 02, 2011 at 2:58 AM

@Rose-yes that makes sense, I do the same except I look for South. @John-beautifully said! I would have to agree.

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606 · August 02, 2011 at 2:43 AM

You need moon exposure in the same way that you need to feel rain on your face or need to watch clouds scudding across the sky. I believe we are hard-wired to DINE - delight in natural experiences.

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6235 · August 01, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I like watching her, but I have never found it necessary for anything but my religious life :)

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6235 · August 01, 2011 at 5:40 PM

@Dunnie I have had periods where intensive ritual required special attention to the moon every night and to the phase (which I still track offhand). It never had a effect on my personal cycle. I have generally not found that to be the case for people in a similar study cycle. I have seen it happen, but only in a few cases where there was the confounding factor of a new guy in the picture. Given the effects of pheromones I chalked it up to that.

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7540 · August 01, 2011 at 4:19 PM

But if it was an intrinsic effect on our biology, why would we have to pay attention to the moon in order to notice it? We don't have to consciously make an effort to notice the sun in order for sunlight to exert an effect on our circadian rhythms. And the moon is basically a lump of rock. I would personally chalk up the change to your improved diet, not the moon, but who knows.

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1025 · August 01, 2011 at 4:13 PM

I know my cycles (which were previously pretty erratic) came in synch with the moon's as soon as I started really paying attention to it and made it a point to look at it every night, this change also came while I started eating better. I would think the modern women who were not having corresponding cycles may have not being paying attention?

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18412 · August 01, 2011 at 4:06 PM

plus one. nice point about the sea creatures/tides.

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25467 · August 01, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I'm glad someone here gets that. We don't need moonlight. But sea creatures need to moon gravity for their own rhythms due to tides.

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11986 · August 01, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Cool question. I've always liked to know where we are in the moon cycle. I also like to always know which way North is, even in a shopping mall. Somehow these things let me know where I am and what time it is in a very grounded, non-head-based kind of way, if that makes sense.

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12 Answers

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18412 · August 01, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Moonlight? What you really mean is sunlight being reflected. The moon is pitch black without the light from the sun.

Might the gravity have an actual physical effect? Possibly.

As for having an emotional response toward the moon, people like to think of the moon in this way because of the romance element connected to it. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's good to at least be aware about what is really going on here. Any feelings or changes in mood based on the moon is purely physcological and/or emotional and derived from within you.

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25467 · August 01, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I'm glad someone here gets that. We don't need moonlight. But sea creatures need to moon gravity for their own rhythms due to tides.

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18412 · August 01, 2011 at 4:06 PM

plus one. nice point about the sea creatures/tides.

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7540 · August 01, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Even though the moon is beautiful and sleeping under the stars and moon is cool, the answer to the question is no. And the moon doesn't produce it's own light, as other answers have noted. I always thought the thing about menstruation syncing up to the lunar cycle was a myth: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1348/whats-the-link-between-the-moon-and-menstruation

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1025 · August 01, 2011 at 4:13 PM

I know my cycles (which were previously pretty erratic) came in synch with the moon's as soon as I started really paying attention to it and made it a point to look at it every night, this change also came while I started eating better. I would think the modern women who were not having corresponding cycles may have not being paying attention?

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6235 · August 01, 2011 at 5:40 PM

@Dunnie I have had periods where intensive ritual required special attention to the moon every night and to the phase (which I still track offhand). It never had a effect on my personal cycle. I have generally not found that to be the case for people in a similar study cycle. I have seen it happen, but only in a few cases where there was the confounding factor of a new guy in the picture. Given the effects of pheromones I chalked it up to that.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3
7540 · August 01, 2011 at 4:19 PM

But if it was an intrinsic effect on our biology, why would we have to pay attention to the moon in order to notice it? We don't have to consciously make an effort to notice the sun in order for sunlight to exert an effect on our circadian rhythms. And the moon is basically a lump of rock. I would personally chalk up the change to your improved diet, not the moon, but who knows.

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15395 · August 01, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I have always found it extremely calming to see the moon, especially when it is nearly full on a clear night. Just looking at it allows me to put my current life situation in a perspective that is very relaxing.

Maybe that makes me a lunatic... but I actually look forward to full moons (next one on Aug 13).

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6235 · August 01, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I like watching her, but I have never found it necessary for anything but my religious life :)

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446 · August 02, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I live out in the countryside where there is no environmental light (no street lamps, or lights in other houses etc) apart from the moon and stars at night, and, believe me, the utter dark (complete blackness, with no atmospheric light at all, plus curtains) is not a comfortable environment to go to sleep in at all.

Complete "blackout" blackness is so heavy and you simply cannot see a thing, not even your hand in front of your face. It is like a form of sensory deprivation and it freaks me out when I am trying to go to sleep. We keep our curtains open so we get some residual moonlight into the room, so if something does go "bump in the middle of the night", I can, at least, see where my feet are.

I think the ban on "light" at night is more to do with unnatural light in a room, rather than natural.

Another interesting thing is that a friend of mine from South America has an old family ritual of bathing newborn girls in moonlight. They move the cradle to a point in a room where the moonlight shines on the baby for a few nights soon after she is born. It is something to do with an old obeah practice to give girls "the sight".

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1638 · August 02, 2011 at 1:32 PM

"I think the ban on "light" at night is more to do with unnatural light in a room, rather than natural." And I think you hit the nail right on the head here. Total blackout darkness freaks me out and I don't think it is natural. We were prey as well as predators and total darkness gives me the willies and an itch between my shoulder blades like sitting with my back to the door in an office. The idea of moonlight does have romance, like Jack mentioned, and whatever physical effects come more from the gravitational pull of the moon. Personally, I like sleeping in moonlight and will continue.

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3443 · August 02, 2011 at 9:53 AM

From my own informal observations: I have a "hunt-fish" calendar app on my phone that uses lunar cycles to predict the peak animal/fish activity periods based on lunar cycles. I work and otherwise spend a lot of time outdoors. I always note whether or not a noticeable increase in animal/fish sighting activity correllates with the activity peaks predicted by the lunar cycles. My personal observations; it does but changing weather fronts and other large events can supercede it.

Now for people; whenever I can't sleep for whatever reason I check my lunar calendar for "peak activity periods" as well as my Facebook account to see who is online. My informal results? That people without regular schedules, such as college students and others who make their own schedules, are much more likely to be online (some actually complaining that they also cannot sleep). Anyway like I said informal but enough to make me want to know more. Note: personally I sleep with my curtains open on the side that the streetlight does not shine in and under the stars whenever possible.

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10255 · August 01, 2011 at 3:14 PM

the moon doesn't produce light; it reflects sunlight. i thought its effect on humans was a function of its gravitational pull on our body fluids.

but i total get UncleLongHair's answer- i have a strong emotional response to seeing the full moon.

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13635 · August 01, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Moonlight is just reflected sunlight and, as romantic as it may seem, would keep us awake at night if it were visible. If you were able to sleep well under the moonlight then the light wouldn't matter because you're asleep.

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286 · August 01, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I like noting when the moon is waxing, waning, full or dark. The moon deals with emotions and energy but that's really more mystical than hard scientific fact.

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17136 · August 01, 2013 at 2:41 PM

The coolest thing is to see the Moon and the Sun together in the sky where they're about both the same size and you're slightly confused for a second as to which one is which.

Other than that, for me, it's more of a "look at this cool, beautiful natural thing out there." Same as looking at mountains, or trees, or bodies of water.

As I sleep in a totally blacked out room, no moonlight seeps in, it has no effect. Perhaps gravitationally there might be some slight effect as our bodies are mostly water, but meh. It's not like I'd get the urge to go howl at it or anything.

I've been more awed by staying up late to watch the Leonids spectacles.

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1601 · July 31, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Interesting article that pertains slightly to this issue: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/moon-phases-tied-to-sleep-cycles/?hpw&_r=0

"Melatonin levels, total sleep time and delta sleep time (the deepest sleep, as recorded by EEG) reached their lowest levels at full moon, and their highest as the moon waxed and waned. The average time it took to fall asleep and the time to arrive at REM sleep (the type of sleep in which dreams occur) followed the opposite pattern, longest at the full moon and shorter as it waxed and waned."

There was a study of a french gentlemen who spent a long time in a cave. I wonder if the same measures of melatonin, sleep, and delta sleep would also apply to him without his moon exposure?

Perhaps this is one for a crazy self-experimenter.

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0 · November 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Sun lite reflected off of moon is very soothing I would buy. For many years I have slept outside I remember when I was about 5 sleeping outside and there being a full moon and I wondered will I be able to fall asleep? Looking at the moonlight my eyes became heavy as if mesmerized by the lite am wondering if rods don't keep us up like activated cones do. My eye lids became heavier and heavier and the last thing I remember is a blanket of silvery light all around me and I fell asleep it happened again last night. Am looking for scientific studies on this more research needs to be done.

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1231 · August 01, 2011 at 3:02 PM

i'm sure there are benefits to moonlight, not sure what they are though. my black out curtains are more to keep out city light though, even if i lost out on the moonlight too.

i don't think sleeping in the moonlight is imperative though. if it were living in colder climates would be impossible.

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