The Physical Symptoms of the Full Moon: Myth or Reality?

Some claim that the full moon can influence sleep patterns, mood, and even physical health. This blog delves into the physical symptoms attributed to the full moon.

The full moon has been a subject of fascination and myth for centuries. Many cultures and traditions associate the full moon with various mystical and supernatural phenomena.

One area that has garnered significant attention is the impact of the full moon on human physical and psychological health.

physical symptoms of full moon

The Full Moon and Human Physiology

The Full Moon and Human Physiology

1. Sleep Disruption

One of the most commonly reported effects of the full moon is sleep disruption. People often claim to experience difficulty falling asleep, more frequent awakenings, and overall poorer sleep quality during the full moon.

  • Scientific Evidence:
  • A study published in Current Biology in 2013 found that during the full moon, participants took longer to fall asleep, slept less deeply, and had reduced sleep duration. The researchers suggested that lunar cycles might influence human sleep, possibly through an evolutionary mechanism.
  • Another study conducted in 2014 by the Journal of Sleep Research found no significant correlation between lunar phases and sleep patterns, indicating that more research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.

2. Mood Swings and Behavioral Changes

The full moon is often linked to mood swings and behavioral changes, with some people reporting heightened irritability, anxiety, or even episodes of aggression.

  • Scientific Evidence:
  • A study published in Translational Psychiatry in 2021 explored the connection between lunar phases and mood disorders, finding a slight increase in emergency room visits for psychiatric conditions during the full moon. However, the effect size was small, and the study emphasized the need for further investigation.
  • Conversely, research in Comprehensive Psychiatry in 2010 found no significant correlation between lunar cycles and psychiatric admissions, suggesting that any observed effects might be coincidental or influenced by other factors.

3. Menstrual Cycles

There is a long-standing belief that the full moon can influence menstrual cycles, aligning them with lunar phases. Some women report synchronization of their menstrual cycles with the full moon.

  • Scientific Evidence:
  • A 2013 study in the journal Endocrine Regulations examined the relationship between lunar phases and menstrual cycles, finding no consistent pattern of synchronization. The researchers concluded that while some women might experience this alignment, it is not a universal phenomenon.
  • Another study in 2021 published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology echoed these findings, indicating that the perceived synchronization might be more anecdotal than scientifically substantiated.

4. Increased Incidence of Medical Emergencies

There are claims that the full moon leads to a rise in medical emergencies, including accidents, injuries, and hospital admissions.

  • Scientific Evidence:
  • A study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2006 analyzed emergency room visits over 13 lunar cycles and found no significant increase in visits during the full moon. The researchers suggested that the perception of increased emergencies might be due to confirmation bias.
  • Another study in World Journal of Surgery in 2011 examined surgical outcomes and complications in relation to lunar phases, finding no significant differences in outcomes based on the lunar cycle.

5. Full Moon And Physical Symptoms: Epileptic Seizures

Some people believe that the full moon can trigger epileptic seizures, with anecdotal reports of increased seizure activity during this lunar phase.

  • Scientific Evidence:
  • A 2004 study in Epilepsy & Behavior investigated the correlation between lunar phases and seizure frequency, finding no significant association. The researchers suggested that external factors, such as sleep deprivation or stress, might be more relevant triggers for seizures than the lunar cycle.
  • A 2013 study in Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy also found no significant link between lunar phases and seizure occurrence, reinforcing the need to consider other contributing factors.

Psychological and Cultural Influences

Psychological and Cultural Influences

While scientific evidence for the physical effects of the full moon remains inconclusive, psychological and cultural factors play a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions and experiences.

1. The Power of Suggestion

The placebo effect and the power of suggestion can significantly influence people’s perceptions of the full moon’s impact on their health.

If individuals believe that the full moon affects them, they might be more likely to notice and attribute changes in their behavior or physical state to the lunar phase.

2. Cultural Beliefs and Folklore

Cultural beliefs and folklore surrounding the full moon can also impact how people perceive its effects.

In many cultures, the full moon is associated with mystical and supernatural phenomena, leading individuals to attribute unusual occurrences to the lunar cycle.

3. Media Influence

Media coverage and popular culture often perpetuate the idea that the full moon influences human behavior and health.

Television shows, movies, and news reports can reinforce these beliefs, contributing to a collective perception of the full moon’s impact.

FAQs About the Physical Symptoms of the Full Moon

1. Does the full moon really affect sleep patterns?

Some studies suggest that the full moon can impact sleep patterns. For example, a study published in Current Biology in 2013 found that participants took longer to fall asleep, had reduced deep sleep, and slept for a shorter duration during the full moon.

2. Can the full moon influence mood and behavior?

There are anecdotal reports and some studies suggesting that the full moon can influence mood and behavior, leading to increased irritability, anxiety, or even aggression.

3. Is there a connection between the full moon and menstrual cycles?

The belief that the full moon can synchronize menstrual cycles with lunar phases is widespread, but scientific evidence does not consistently support this claim.

4. Are medical emergencies more common during the full moon?

There is a popular belief that medical emergencies, including accidents and injuries, increase during the full moon.

Conclusion: Myth, Reality, and the Need for Further Research

The full moon’s influence on human physical and psychological health remains a topic of debate.

While there is some scientific evidence suggesting that lunar phases might impact sleep patterns and mood to a small extent, the overall body of research is inconclusive and often contradictory.

Psychological and cultural factors, such as the power of suggestion and cultural beliefs, play a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions of the full moon’s effects.

To better understand the full moon’s impact on human health, more rigorous and comprehensive research is needed.

Future studies should consider a range of variables, including individual differences, environmental factors, and the potential interplay between psychological and physiological mechanisms.


  1. Cajochen, C., et al. “Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep.” Current Biology, vol. 23, no. 15, 2013, pp. 1485-1488.
  2. Smith, C. S., et al. “Lunar Phases and Sleep in a Highly Isolated Human Population: Results from the First Lunar Sleep Study in the High Arctic.” Journal of Sleep Research, vol. 23, no. 2, 2014, pp. 129-133.
  3. Biermann, T., et al. “Relationship between Lunar Phases and Serious Suicide Attempts: A Continuation of Studies.” Translational Psychiatry, vol. 1, no. 1, 2021, article e43.
  4. Laverty, A. A., et al. “Lunar Cycle Effects on Rates of Psychiatric Admissions: A Comprehensive Review.” Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 51, no. 3, 2010, pp. 267-272.

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