Many people complain about poor sleep around full moon. Scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland now report evidence that lunar cycles and human sleep behavior are in fact connected. The results have been published in the journal Current Biology, according to the July 25, 2013 news release, "Bad sleep around full moon is no longer a myth." You can check out the abstract of the original study published August 5, 2013 in the journal Current Biology, "Evidence that the Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep."
Now a report appearing in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on July 25, 2013 offers some of the first convincing scientific evidence to suggest that this really is true. The findings add to evidence that humans -- despite the comforts of our civilized world -- still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.
The research group around Prof. Christian Cajochen of the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel analyzed the sleep of over 30 volunteers in two age groups in the lab. While they were sleeping, the scientists monitored their brain patterns, eye movements and measured their hormone secretions. The findings suggest that even today, despite the comforts of modern life, humans still responds to the geophysical rhythms of the moon.
Many people complain about poor sleep around the full moon, and now a report appearing in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on July 25, 2013 offers some of the first convincing scientific evidence to suggest that this really is true. The findings add to evidence that humans -- despite the comforts of our civilized world -- still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the moon, driven by a circalunar clock.
Short And Poor Sleep
The data show that both the subjective and the objective perception of the quality of sleep changed with the lunar cycles. Around full moon, brain activity in the areas related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent. People also took five minutes longer to fall asleep and they overall slept for 20 minutes less. The volunteers felt as though their sleep had been poorer during full moon and they showed lower levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
Poor sleep may be a relic from the past
According to the researchers, this circalunar rhythm might be a relic from past times, when the moon was responsible for synchronizing human behavior, say researchers according to the news release, "Bad sleep around full moon is no longer a myth." This is well known for other animals, especially marine animals, where moon light coordinates reproduction behavior. You may wish to check out the news release, "Bad night's sleep? The moon could be to blame."
Today, other influences of modern life, such as electric light, masked the moon's influence on us. However, the study shows that in the controlled environment of the laboratory with a strict study protocol, the moon's hold over us can be made visible and measurable again. For further information, also see the article, "Poor Sleep Linked to Brain Protein Deposits."
Poor sleep linked to Alzheimer's risk
New research has linked poor sleep with increased buildup of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain, a major biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, according to an October 29, 2013 news article on the latest research, "Poor Sleep Linked to Brain Protein Deposits." You also can check out the abstract of the original study, "Self-reported Sleep and β - Amyloid Deposition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults." That study has been published on October 21, 2013 in JAMA Neurology, Journal of the American Medical Association Network. Authors are Spira AP, Gamaldo AA, An Y, Wu MN, Simonsick EM, Bilgel M, Zhou Y, Wong DF, Ferrucci L, and Resnick SM.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is uncertain, but amyloid protein plaques and tangles of tau protein fibers in the brain are two main features of the disease
Until recently, these protein formations could only be identified after death, by examining the brain during autopsy. Thanks to new imaging techniques, scientists can now measure beta-amyloid buildup in the brains of living subjects, which may greatly advance our understating of the early stages of the disease.
In a cross-sectional study of 70 adults with an average age of 76 years, researchers from the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the association between self-reported duration and quality of sleep and concentrations of beta-amyloid in the brain. After adjusting for other variables, reports of shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality were both associated with higher beta-amyloid burden. These findings are consistent with previously published research showing increased removal of protein waste products during sleep in animal brains. For more information also see the articles, "Poor Sleep Linked to Brain Protein Deposits" and "Sleep Quality Linked to Alzheimer's Risk." Also take a look at the news release on another study, "Brain may flush out toxins during sleep."
Better sleep may protect against Alzheimer’s disease in people with a genetic risk factor for the disease, according to Canadian research
Although the form of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene known as APOE ε4 is a well-established risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the elderly, the prevalence and severity of AD among people with the APOE ε4 gene varies widely, the study explains
In light of previous research suggesting that sleep quality and the APOE ε4 genotype may interact to influence cognitive function, researchers from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center at the University of Toronto set out to determine whether quality sleep could reduce the risk of developing AD or decrease AD severity in APOE ε4-positive individuals.
The study involved 698 men and women with an average age of 81.7 years who were without dementia when the study began
Subjects were tested for the APOE ε4 genotype and actigraphic recording was used to quantify sleep consolidation. After a six-year follow-up period during which 98 subjects developed AD, better sleep consolidation was associated with a 33% reduction in AD risk among APOE ε4-positive subjects. In addition, better sleep was associated with reduction in annual rate of cognitive decline and, among AD patients who died, with reduced density of neurofibrillary tangles, a hallmark of AD progression.
The study authors concluded that “interventions to enhance sleep consolidation should be studied as a potentially useful means to reduce the risk of AD and development of neurofibrillary tangles in APOE ε4-positive individuals.” For more information check out the study's abstract, "Modification of the Relationship of the Apolipoprotein E ε4 Allele to the Risk of Alzheimer Disease and Neurofibrillary Tangle Density by Sleep," published online ahead of print, Oct 21, 2013 in JAMA Neurology, JAMA Network.