The full moon has long been associated with lunacy and love - not to mention summoning up werewolves and other creatures of the night. And now, according to Swiss researchers, we can blame it for a poor night's sleep, too.
Seems that when the moon glows, it lowers your levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and causes a 33 percent drop in brain signals that allow for deep sleep; people take five minutes longer to fall asleep and sleep for 20 minutes less than usual. At least that's what researchers observed in 33 study participants sleeping in dark, windowless rooms where they couldn't see the moon.
How can that be? One theory is that through human evolution we've developed an imbedded sleep pattern that's in sync with the lunar cycle. So even in our modern, light-filled nights, our bodies respond in tune with the Man in the Moon. That's possible. But what we know for sure is that a good night's sleep is essential for weight control and to fight off everything from memory problems and a lousy sex life to cancer and cardio disease.
So, try our four steps to a good snooze:
1. Stick to regular "to bed" and "rise and shine" times - even on weekends.
2. Make your room as dark and quiet as possible; muffle sound using white-noise machines.
3. Keep TVs and digital devices out of the bedroom; it's for sleeping and having sex!
4. Get physical activity outdoors daily (at least 10,000 steps). Sunlight helps set your wake-sleep clock so you sleep at night.
© King Features Syndicate