Are children like werewolves? Full moon and its association with sleep and activity behaviors in an international sample of children

Chaput, Jean Philippe and Weippert, Madyson and LeBlanc, Allana G. and Hjorth, Mads F. and Michaelsen, Kim F. and Katzmarzyk, Peter T. and Tremblay, Mark S. and Barreira, Tiago V. and Broyles, Stephanie T. and Fogelholm, Mikael and Hu, Gang and Kuriyan, Rebecca and Kurpad, Anura and Lambert, Estelle V. and Maher, Carol and Maia, Jose and Matsudo, Victor and Olds, Timothy and Onywera, Vincent and Sarmiento, Olga L. and Standage, Martyn and Tudor-Locke, Catrine and Zhao, Pei and Sjödin, Anders M., ISCOLE Research Group (2016) Are children like werewolves? Full moon and its association with sleep and activity behaviors in an international sample of children. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 4. 24. ISSN 2296-2360

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    In order to verify if the full moon is associated with sleep and activity behaviors, we used a 12-country study providing 33,710 24-h accelerometer recordings of sleep and activity. The present observational, cross-sectional study included 5812 children ages 9-11 years from study sites that represented all inhabited continents and wide ranges of human development (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States). Three moon phases were used in this analysis: full moon (±4 days; reference), half moon (±5-9 days), and new moon (±10-14 days) from nearest full moon. Nocturnal sleep duration, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light-intensity physical activity (LPA), and total sedentary time (SED) were monitored over seven consecutive days using a waist-worn accelerometer worn 24 h a day. Only sleep duration was found to significantly differ between moon phases (~5 min/night shorter during full moon compared to new moon). Differences in MVPA, LPA, and SED between moon phases were negligible and non-significant (< 2 min/day difference). There was no difference in the associations between study sites. In conclusion, sleep duration was 1% shorter at full moon compared to new moon, while activity behaviors were not significantly associated with the lunar cycle in this global sample of children. Whether this seemingly minimal difference is clinically meaningful is questionable.