Mental Health Disorders and the Full Moon: Is There a Link?

 Mental Health Disorders and the Full Moon: Is There a Link?

It is known that human physiology is influenced by seasonal and circadian rhythms. However, the effect of lunar cycles on human physiology and behavior is debatable. We spoke to Dr. Psychiatrist at Holy Cross Hospital, Kerala to understand more about this connection. Spoke with Alfred Samuel.

For centuries, physicians and philosophers believed that the full moon influenced human behavior. Various theories were hypothesized to link the lunar cycle and human mental health. Of these, the full moon’s effect on circadian rhythms is the most popular. Changes in circadian rhythms are associated with an increase in:


Bipolar disorder

Depression, or schizophrenia

However, data from previous research in this regard are conflicting. One study also reported a link between three distinct lunar cycles and rapid bipolar mood cycles.

A single-site study in Goa, India reported a significantly higher number of patients with non-affective psychosis reporting to a psychiatric hospital on full moon days. However, this trend was not true for mania or depression. In a more recent analysis from 2017, the number of psychiatric presentations to hospital emergency departments and the four phases of the lunar cycle were not related. A 2019 review of nearly 18,000 medical records found no correlation between the lunar cycle and length of hospital stay or the number of patients admitted to or discharged from psychiatric facilities.

A more recent study analyzing the relationship between the phases of the moon and sleep in humans found that sleep starts later and the nights before a full moon are shorter. Another study reported that near the full moon, stage 4 and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep decreased in women, while REM duration increased in men. However, in children, no such change in sleep duration was observed.

Interestingly, a study involving 17 bipolar patients found a link between three distinct lunar cycles and rapid bipolar mood cycles. The onset of mania was associated with significant changes in total sleep time in bipolar patients. It was consistent with lunar month differences in total sleep time in healthy individuals.

More evidence is needed before general conclusions can be drawn about whether there is a link between mental health disorders and lunar cycles. Until then, let’s “say yes to life” and not be fooled by common misconceptions about mental health.

“” સંપૂર્ણ વિગતો ગુજરાતી માં વાંચો 

Leave a Comment