Saturday, August 10, 2013


THE MOON IS FULL, STUDIO - Scientists have found evidence that human sleep patterns are timed to the phases of the Moon, and that people sleep 20 minutes less on an average during a full Moon. Many people complain about poor sleep around the full Moon and the study 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 civilised world - still respond to the geophysical rhythms of the Moon, driven by a circa-lunar clock. “The lunar cycle seems to influence human sleep, even when one does not 'see' the Moon and is not aware of the actual Moon phase,” said Christian Cajochen of the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel.

In the new study, the researchers studied 33 volunteers in two age groups in the lab while they slept. Their brain patterns were monitored while sleeping, along with eye movements and hormone secretions. The data show that around the full Moon, brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30%.  People also took five minutes longer to fall asleep, and they slept for twenty minutes less time overall.
Study participants felt as though their sleep was poorer when the Moon was full, and they showed diminished levels of melatonin, a hormone known to regulate sleep and wake cycles. “This is the first reliable evidence that a lunar rhythm can modulate sleep structure in humans when measured under the highly controlled conditions of a circadian laboratory study protocol without time cues,” the researchers said.

As the moon holds a mystical place in human culture, many popular legends have built up about the influence of the moon, called “The Lunar Effect” or “The Transylvania Effect.” People have said that strange things happen at full moon, werewolves, vampirism, lunacy, epileptic seizures, and so on. However, in the Vedic culture, the Moon has great importance. For example, in Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna states, “Among the stars, I am the Moon” (BG 10.21). The Indian astrology or Moon astrology system follows a calender based on constellations which has the Moon in the centre. The Vedic calendar is based on the lunar cycle and many Hindu festivities are held by taking into account the phases of the moon. For example, purnima is the period of the cycle when the moon is full, and Chaitanya Gaura Purnima is a big celebration among the Gaudiya Vaisnavas - the followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - which marks the appearance day anniversary of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya. (Editor's note).

In Vedic astronomy there are 28 important constellations, headed by Abhijit. Of these, 27 lie along the ecliptic and are used to divide it into 27 equal units of 13-1/3 degrees. These constellations are referred to as “nakshatras”, or lunar mansions. They are particularly connected with the motion of the moon, since the moon completes one orbit in about 27.3 days. In SB 5.22.5 the nakshatras are referred to in the following statement: “According to stellar calculations, a month equals two and one quarter constellations.” (Note that 2-1/4 times 13-1/3 degrees equals 30 degrees.) The 28 nakshatras are mentioned in the description of the shishumara-cakra in Chapter 23 of the Fifth Canto. The shishumara-cakra is an imaginary form in the heavens that is made up of constellations and visualized as a gigantic animal. This form is worshiped by some yogis as a manifestation of the virata-rupa, or the external form of Krishna.

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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