Will the Moon Affect My Sleep?
Who’s starting to get afraid of light at night?
After reading about the effects of light at night on melatonin products and sleep quality, I do everything I can do reduce my exposure.
When I go outside at night, should I be afraid of the moonlight? It often seems really bright. And often appears to shine with a white light.
What I found is that moonlight, in terms of absolute brightness should not affect melatonin production.
While we don’t want bright light at night, bright light during the morning and daytime actually hep us sleep better at night.
Indoor lighting during the day is often not bright enough, unless you hack it using high power lighting, to correctly set our circadian rhythms.
Below is a table of the measure of brightness (taken from Wikipedia) of different lighting types.
|120,000 lux||Brightest sunlight|
|110,000 lux||Bright sunlight|
|20,000 lux||Shade illuminated by entire clear blue sky, midday|
|1,000 – 2,000 lux||Typical overcast day, midday|
|<200 lux||Extreme of darkest storm clouds, midday|
|Sunrise or sunset on a clear day (ambient illumination).
|40 lux||Fully overcast, sunset/sunrise|
|Extreme of darkest storm clouds, sunset/rise
As you can see, moonlight is of such a low light intensity that scientists say it does not affect melatonin production.
In addition, the light intensity indoors is much lower than a typical sunny day (500 lux indoors vs 120,000 lux outdoors). Even a cloudy day ranks higher than indoor lighting, which is why it’s so important to get outside.
One important note about moonlight. While the intensity is not enough to affect your melatonin production, the brightness itself may make it harder for you to sleep if you sleep with the moonlight shining in your bedroom window. By analyzing his sleep, Chris has found that he does sleep better when it is cloudy at night. He lives out in the country so street lights are not an issue with the analysis.
Bottom line – Get outside during the day. And don’t worry about the light from the moon and stars.