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

ISCOLE Research Group, Jean Philippe Chaput, Madyson Weippert, Allana G. LeBlanc, Mads F. Hjorth, Kim F. Michaelsen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Mark S. Tremblay, Tiago V. Barreira, Stephanie T. Broyles, Mikael Fogelholm, Gang Hu, Rebecca Kuriyan, Anura Kurpad, Estelle V. Lambert, Carol Maher, Jose Maia, Victor Matsudo, Timothy Olds, Vincent OnyweraOlga L. Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Pei Zhao, Anders M. Sjödin

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2016


  • children
  • lunar cycle
  • moon
  • physical activity
  • sedentary behavior
  • sleep


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