Since the beginning of civilization, our only natural satellite, the moon, has locked the human psyche captive.

Communities throughout the globe have revered it as a powerful entity across history, considering it to possess genuine control and authority over the environment and health.

And even at present, the moon is believed to have incredible impacts on biological existence and Earth’s natural phenomena that might have appeared ordinary millions of years ago. But how true are all these facts and beliefs?

Moon and Earth

It is not uncommon to hear individuals crack remarks concerning their or someone else’s irregular conduct throughout a full moon, accusing the “Bella luna” of any unacceptable behavior.

In any case, one point to keep in mind about this heavenly sphere is that it significantly impacts the planet, influencing many variables.

Tidal Waves

tides - moon, earth, and human
Relation between moon and tides (source)

The Moon and Sun operate together to produce ‘spring’ tides when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are all aligned. High tides tend to be slightly higher, and low tides get a little quieter during the spring tides.

Whenever the Sun and Moon are at a perpendicular angle to each other, the waves from the sun essentially neutralize out the surges from the moon, resulting in ‘neap’ tides.

As a result, high tides are a little lower, and low tides are a little higher than average in this vicinity. The Earth’s tides would be more straightforward but considerably less intense if the moon did not dominate this image.

Seasons

The inclination of the Earth’s axis from the equinox is 23.5 degrees, and this aspect determines seasons. The angle of inclination, however, is not constant.

Displacement is a modest periodic alteration in the inclination degree of the Earth caused by the moon’s gravitational attraction on the planet.

Displacement would be delayed without the moon’s tug; however, it would be more robust. A higher alteration in the inclination of the spin axis entails a more extensive alteration in the character of the seasons, which means the seasons will vary significantly.

Length of day

In previous times, Earth rotated at a significantly higher pace. Computer analysis suggests that Earth experienced a six-hour day 4.5 billion years ago!

However, today, Earth has decelerated, and our days have become extended, thanks to our moon’s intervention.

The moon’s gravitational acceleration on the Earth “decided to steal” a few of the Earth’s rotational momentum over history, gradually propelling the moon into progressively higher orbits.

Polar Ice

arctic - moon, earth, and human
Moon phase impacts Arctic ice from New moon to full moon (source)

The moon also heavily influences arctic temperatures and substantially contributes to Arctic ice coverage. According to satellite observations, the polar regions are 0.55oC hotter during a full moon.

Additionally, tidal forces also interact to disintegrate ice sheets and affect ocean heat fluxes, causing the ice sheet entering into the Arctic Ocean to vary.

Alteration in biodiversity 

Moon is also responsible for the massive reproduction of corals on the Great Barrier Reef. It is incredible to see trillions of zooplankton discharge their spermatozoa into the ocean throughout fertilization.

The reefs’ reproductive season is determined by various conditions, particularly warmth, saltiness, pressure, and nutrient availability.

And, what’s surprising is, it always takes place throughout October and December and immediately after a full moon.

This synchronized moon alignment has such a striking visual impression that you may view the phenomena from space.

Ephedra foramina is a type of flowerless vegetation that relies on reproduction by insects. The paired pines have developed a novel strategy for attracting insects for pollination due to the lack of blossoms or other attractants.

Each small spike emits sprinkles of nectar in the dazzling moonlight to assist its pollen in getting dispursed by bugs.

Beneath polarized light, these drips shimmer, generating a scintillating electronica show that attracts butterflies and other nighttime creatures towards the flower. And this marvel is only possible during a full moon.

Moon and Human 

From ancient mythology and medicine to modern stories of full moons and increased criminal activity, confidence in the moon’s plays in human illness and wellness is historic and ubiquitous.

Women were handed half-moon pendants on their birthdays in ancient Greek and Roman periods to shield them from demonic forces. Women also wore them to aid conception and provide support throughout birthing labor.

Although you will not change into a monstrous werewolf underneath the supermoon, researchers say the moon can have some strange effects on your attitude.

Full moon and Sleep Disruption

sleep - moon, earth, and human
Full moon over city. Some of the dwellers are probably having sleep disruption (source)

According to majority sentiment, the full moon interrupts slumber and makes individuals more susceptible to sleeplessness and restlessness.

The idea that the moon may have such a profound impact on our life is intriguing. In a 2014 study released in Sleep Medicine, researchers examined 319 individuals’ sleep patterns during various lunar cycles.

Subjects in this research reported poorer sleep patterns during a full moon. This report suggests they were active or in a light sleep state for most of the duration they were in slumber overnight.

The researcher then performed a posteriori study, revealing that respondents took roughly five extra minutes to drift off to sleep in general before and after a full moon.

And, the overall sleep patterns decreased by almost 20 minutes. As a result, even if one cannot see the moon or is unaware of the current phase, the moon cycle plays a role in shaping human slumber patterns.

Moon and Our State of Mind

A full moon’s ability to elicit intense feelings, erratic behavior, and even physiological disease is not only a fictional myth. And to this day, it is a firmly ingrained notion.

In addition, roughly 81 percent of mental health specialists agree that the full moon causes individuals to fall sick.

Circadian clocks have developed as a result of interaction with daylight and night, and they influence not only our sleep-rest patterns but also our health and wellbeing.

When circadian clocks are disrupted, mental health illnesses such as anxiousness, borderline personality disorder, melancholy, and dementia can develop or worsen. Like a solitary street lamp or a cellular telephone display, the full moon lights the skies from 0.1 to 0.3 lux.

Despite experts revealing that individuals suffer from mental health issues throughout the lunar cycle, bipolar disorder may be an indiscriminate exception.

During lunar patterns, 17 persons with bipolar disorder moved swiftly from depression to mania, according to 2018 research.

Furthermore, suppose you ever sense that you are more energetic and gregarious around full moons or perhaps more reduced-energy and solitary during new moons.

In that case, it might be an instinctual experience founded on thousands of years of human progression under the moon’s phases.

This feeling might be concerning the fact that the full moon’s well-lit evenings were periods of increased vitality and community interactions. In contrast, the new moon’s nights were occasions to take shelter and stillness.

Effects on Kidneys

According to a 2011 study proclaimed in the Journal of Urology, renal stone suffering increased considerably during a full moon.

In another analysis, English researchers discovered that more people were hospitalized with urological complications throughout the period.

On the other hand, individuals with these problems found the new moon to have a “relaxing influence.” Like some of the other systems and biology as a whole, the kidneys are composed of around 60% liquids.

And just as celestial behavior may influence our seas, bringing tremendous and consistent tides, the moon could alter the functioning of these systems, generating distinct peaks and troughs in periods of quiet and discomfort. However, not all scholars believe that there is abundant evidence to warrant further investigation.

Birth rates increase on the full moon

According to Japanese researchers, when the lunar gravitational pull on the Earth is most potent, there is a spike in the number of deliveries.

While the experts confess they aren’t sure how and why this link occurs, they believe that one should blame the moon!

Hence, medical providers and expectant mothers begin preparing for such lunar cycles. Furthermore, an Italian researcher investigated more than 1,200 births over three years and discovered a more significant number of offspring delivered in the two days following a full moon.

What if the moon suddenly disappeared?

What if the moon disappears. Copyright: Evolution of Everything

The same tides that might have begun life on the planet drive the moon farther away from us every year. Due to the apparent tidal events moon generates on Earth, it passes nearly 4cm away from the Earth each year.

And, because our planet spins quicker than the moon orbits, the tidal protrudes gravitational tug and pulls the moon along faster. Hence, the moon is ejected just a little farther as it orbits, making its orbit larger.

The moon’s disappearance would result in drastic climatic disruption. Temperatures and sunshine would vary dramatically year-round, and ice ages would occur in distinct locations every few thousand years. And those exciting solar and lunar eclipses would be a thing of the past!

Seasons would be obsolete, and nighttime and day would be similar in length throughout the year. On some other occasions, the Earth’s orbit around the sun would cause it to tip entirely over and lay on its sides.

And, the polar regions would be sitting in the sun, while the equatorial plains would be freezing themselves. Fortunately for us, the moon is not disappearing anytime soon (or that’s at least what we presume)!

To Conclude

Although numerous research and studies have correlated human behavior and the moon’s cycles, conclusive empirical proof indicating that the moon impacts human biology or psychological health has yet to be established.

Plenty of research is ongoing and underdeveloped. And, the observations as of today suggest that experts will soon propose a core relationship. 

Nonetheless, its more visible impacts on Earth, such as radiation and gravity, as well as its predictable cycles, have had a significant effect on how humans have lived their lives.

Arrangement of time, navigation, and endeavors to predict what tomorrow might bear have all been guided by the almighty moon!

Want to know more about celestial bodies’ impact on humans? Click HERE to see how you can be safe from UV radiation from the sun, affecting human health.

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!