Do we need moon exposure?

by 1024 · August 01, 2013 at 02:41 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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12 Replies

18236 · August 01, 2011 at 04:00 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.

7571 · August 01, 2011 at 03:29 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

15261 · August 01, 2011 at 02:59 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).

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".

3393 · August 02, 2011 at 09:53 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.

10149 · August 01, 2011 at 03:14 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.

13583 · August 01, 2011 at 03:16 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.

286 · August 01, 2011 at 03:04 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.

16813 · August 01, 2013 at 02:41 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.

1600 · July 31, 2013 at 09:01 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.

0 · November 23, 2012 at 06:35 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.

1231 · August 01, 2011 at 03:02 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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