For centuries there has been a kind of popular knowledge that there is a relationship between influence of the moon and the behavior and growth of plants and animals.
Virtually all Eastern and Western cultures have texts or traditions that indicate when to cultivate based on the lunar cycle.
However, the influence of the moon about people is something that has not been studied in depth, except for astrology and other less formal sciences.
Despite being the closest celestial body to us, there are many little known things on the moon.
Now science is finding that if there is a influence of the moon about human emotions or at least a statistical correlation that supports many theories on this topic.
Is there a lunar influence on the human brain?
For centuries there has been talk of «lunatics», people who go mad at the lunar influence, especially during the Full Moon phase.
Even the myth of the «Werewolf» had its origin in stories of men who attacked their families and friends in fits of fury during this phase.
In 2013 a study on sleep was conducted in a group under a controlled environment and it was found that during the full moon they took longer to fall asleep and they woke up earlier than at other times of the month.
In addition, in this moon phase, the time they were kept in deep sleep was 30% less than on other days of the lunar cycle.
The psychiatrist David Avery published a 2005 study of a middle-aged patient who suffered from constant mood swings and sleep problems.
Fortunately, this patient was an engineer and had an obsession to keep track of his mood swings, to «try to find a pattern» to explain them.
Avery soon found that the changes were cyclical and corresponded to ocean tides, which in turn are related to the gravitational influence of the Moon.
The influence of the Moon on rapid cycling bipolar disorder
In 2019 the psychiatrist Thomas Wehr published an article in which he spoke of 17 patients who suffered from a form of rapid cycle bipolar disorder.
This disorder is characterized by much faster and more marked mood swings than in normal cases of bipolarity.
Wehr noted that he was intrigued by the regularity of the changes and the similarity between people who didn’t even know each other.
After several observations he found that they coincided with the phase changes of the terrestrial satellite, so he did not hesitate to affirm that there could be a lunar influence on these patients.
Similarities Between Bipolar Patients and Moon Cycles
What is interesting about Wehr’s studies is that the regularity of his patients’ mood swings coincided with the duration of the Ocean tides produced by changes in the lunar phase.
In fact, he found that some changes occurred every 14.8 days while others occurred every 13.7 days.
Precisely the height of the tides has two different patterns that are repeated over and over again under the lunar influence, in this case, its force of gravity.
In the first, the height is maintained for 14.8 days and is caused by the joint gravity of the Sun and the Moon.
The second change has a duration of 13.7 days and is produced by the position of the Moon in the circle described by the Earth’s equator.
Neuroscience and the influence of the Moon on the brain
The creator of the so-called Somatic Method, Mark Filippi, describes the relationship that neuroscience has found between the lunar phases and human behavior.
Highlight the fact that depending on the moon phase, the production of certain neurotransmitters changes within the human brain, which could explain the reason for these alterations.
In this regard, Filippi explains that the four neurotransmitters whose production is altered by the influence of the Moon are acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Phase from New Moon to First Quarter: Acetylcholine Time
During the first week of the lunar cycle, the brain increases acetylcholine production, a neurotransmitter that participates in nerve cell communication.
This increase causes people a greater empathy and social sensitivity, that is, they become more receptive to their own and others’ emotions.
Therefore, the first week of the lunar cycle tends to have a lot of physical and mental energy, highlighting a greater ability to learn and memorize new informationn.
However, the increased sensitivity generated by the increase in acetylcholine in the brain has a negative effect and is that lowers the ability to concentrate on long tasks.
Crescent to Full Moon, the turn of serotonin
During the second week of the lunar cycle, which leads from the First Quarter to the Full Moon phase, the brain increases the production of serotonin.
The serotonin is also known as the «happiness hormone», why intervenes in states of joy and placidity, as well as participates in various physical and mental processes.
This has the effect of increasing people’s energy and ability to concentrate, as well as making it easier for them to carry out creative tasks.
Full Moon to Last Quarter: increases dopamine
The third week of the solar cycle takes us from the Full Moon phase to the Last Quarter.
During this week, the brain increases the production of dopamine, a substance involved in the body’s motor function but also in memory and search for satisfaction-reward.
The lunar influence manifests itself in a greater search for fun and distraction in a group, since the dopamine stimulates social closeness to other people.
The Full Moon is associated with an “excess” of mental activity, mainly because dopamine generates a increased emotional arousal and less repression of sexual urges.
Last Quarter to New Moon: the reactive noradrenaline
The last week of the solar cycle corresponds to the passage from the Last Quarter to the Full Moon phase, in which the terrestrial satellite is totally within the shadow that the Earth generates when intercepting the Sun’s light.
It is a phase in which the brain increases the production of norepinephrine, which among other things, is the “survival hormone«.
Norepinephrine causes a fight or flight reaction in animals and people, which can make all the difference in the face of imminent danger.
In fact, this hormone causes increased activity in the area of the brain that handles basic instinctual and defensive behaviors.
In daily life, the lunar influence makes the people assume a defensive state in which they analyze everything around them a lot before making a decision.
It is considered to be the stage where there is less inspiration and more physical and emotional reaction.
Finally, it remains to say that many studies have also indicated that sports benefit the brain.
For this reason, some scientists analyze physical therapies to help people potentially sensitive to lunar influence, such as those mentioned here.
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