Moons, especially full moons throughout the year, are blamed for everything from lack of sleep to students misbehaving. There are some things though that the moon phases do affect like the tides. The lunar phases have no effect on many supposed phenomenon. Some of the most believed correlations include, a woman’s menstrual cycle, birthing rates, craziness, increased crime and sleep problems.
A women’s menstrual cycle is not caused by the lunar cycle. This is a common misconception because many women have an average cycle length of 28 days. This easily coincides with the average lunar cycle of 29.5 days, and so it is easy to see how the idea would become widespread. On the other side are those who make their argument that women can follow their lunar cycle, which is different from their regular cycle to increase or decrease their chances of becoming pregnant. Those that believe this are following the research of Dr. Eugene Jonas who worked in the 1950s.
Along with a woman’s cycle is the thought that birth rates increase during certain lunar phases. What usually is the case is the barometric pressure changing due to a storm that may coincide with the full moon. There is no scientific fact to back up claims that the moon increases birth rates.
Another misconception is that the moon causes the crazy to come out in people. A study published in 2012 by the American Psychological Association determined that there was no more than a 1 percent difference in activities surrounding moon phases. These activities included homicides and other criminal offenses as well as mental health admissions.
The crime rate does not increase during a full moon. Before electricity, this may have been true, but in today’s technological era, it is not. During a full moon, the sky is brighter, allowing people to see better without electric lights or candles, thus making crime easier without detection. Today, the moon is not to blame for increase and crime.
This last one regarding sleep, which is widely believed may be true. The full moon may affect how long it takes to fall asleep, how long one sleeps and decrease the amount of REM sleep people experience. Researchers, who published their findings in Current Biology in 2013, found that deep sleep decreased by 30 percent and that the overall sleep quality dropped by 20 percent. In this case the moon could be to blame.
The moon will not turn the neighbors into werewolves, but it will affect the tides. The pull on the water is why there are two high tides and two low tides each day.
The moon has no wind, so the footstep by Neil Armstrong will always be present. Dr. Eugene Shoemaker’s ashes are in a shuttle that was crashed on the moon in 1999. February does not always have a full moon. When this happens either January or March will have two. Regardless, the moon is blameless for many of the coincidences, which happen during various lunar phases, but especially during the full moon.
By Sara Kourtsounis