Do the Phases of the Moon Alter Sleep Patterns and Behavior?

01 Dec


The full moon makes people crazy. Don’t believe it? Ask any Emergency Room MD or nurse. Full moons always bring out the crazies and the most bizarre circumstances. Common things present in odd fashions; odd things become downright bizarre. Can’t prove that scientifically but experience suggest it’s a fact.

During my medical training at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, you could count on having a busy and eventful day (and night) during the full moon. If you added that to a payday weekend, you had a recipe for chaos. The “Friday-night Knife and Gun Club” was especially busy on pay weekends and under full moons.

Probably has to do with tidal shifts in the brain or something like that. Excess water in your brain pan is never a good thing.

One example is The Bean. He’s our Bengal cat. Nocturnal and noisy by nature, he often gets completely out of hand around the full moon. We call it Moon Bean.

The Bean

The Bean

Now research done at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden suggests that the cycles of the moon alter sleep patterns. If so, these cycles might also alter behavior. Poor sleep leads to poor decisions, labile emotions, altered perceptions (see previous post), reduced hand-eye coordination, diminished attention, and these can in turn lead to mistakes—-many of which will land you in the ER. Never a good place to be.


Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Issues


10 responses to “Do the Phases of the Moon Alter Sleep Patterns and Behavior?

  1. Judith

    December 1, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Here’s another thing to study. My high school chemistry teacher always told us that rainy days changed the ionization in the body, and that was one reason why people drove irrationally. I have noticed that people show some really poor judgments on rainy days. Have you heard anything about this?


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      December 1, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Rainy days and Mondays always cause a bit of depression.


  2. helloprofblevins

    December 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Stuff about ERs definitely true. This is terrific info.


  3. kaye george

    December 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The same applies to nursing homes. When I was an aide, there were a few patients I had to keep track of during a full moon. One little old guy would roam the halls at night, grabbing aides from behind–very quietly. Others would just rave. I’m not convinced it affects everyone, but it sure does affect some people.


  4. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

    December 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Teachers look at each other, and say, “Is there a full moon?” Yes, there usually is. (Or close to Christmas vacation.) LOL


  5. eleanorsullivan

    December 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I wonder about dreams–do you have more disturbing dreams during a full moon?


    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      December 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      I would suspect that that is true.


      • eleanorsullivan

        December 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        Great opportunity for complications in a mystery–did I dream it? or did it really happen? Or…it will happen. Doesn’t even have to be fantasy. Umm.


  6. Brenda

    December 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Interesting! I thought more might come up about this! My first boss, a fabulous elderly lawyer with a solo practice, swore he had more business than he knew what to do with on the full moon, mentioned it was the full moon in re one particular case we got. I thought I had noticed stuff too.

    In the rain, the people in my area drive FASTER (which is insane even on much better roads with much better drivers) and even though they are always terrible drivers they are obviously worse in the rain.

    I can tell when there is a hurricane or developing tropical storm in the Gulf. I wake at 4 a.m. or earlier at least once.



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