Dreaming statistics is a area a lot of people seem interested in. Mainly as with statistics we can show things like the moon phase is linked to our dreams. The issue here is that a heck of a lot of other things are at work. Here is a list of the main physically external and internal bodily things that you will have to also take into consideration:
- Nighttime temperature (outside and inside)
- Time you went to bed
- Time you wake
- Amount of time in bed
- Amount of sleep
- Overall sleep quality
- Feelings as you go to bed and wake (happy, sad, angry, etc)
- Cycle (if you are female)
- Physical state (sore, fine, well, sick, etc)
- Medication taken
- Alcohol consumes
- Caffeine taken
You will need to measure all of these AS WELL AS the phase of the moon for each night for at least a year. Given about 300 odd days worth of data (assuming you miss a few days) you will then need to somehow work out how much the moon was a influence and how much all of these other things are. They are all significant factors and none can be dismissed as trivial and you will find each one causes your sleep to be different and therefor influences your dreams to some extent. However with 300 days worth of data there will be at least a considerable number of days when all of these conditions are similar enough to be taken out of the equation, leaving only the moon phases. The more data that’s similar in each of these other factors, the better. If you have more than 100 similar days then your getting somewhere for fining enough data for a coloration between moon phase and dreams.
But how would the moon actuly affect our dreams? Gravity? Well no. The moons pull is significant, but the actual color, shape and presence of the moon in the sky is a psychological trigger. Considering everything else that has to be dismissed, arguing the moon has a physical effect on your dreams is pretty much impossible to get enough significant data on. The very fact you are measuring the moon as a possible impact on dream content, will in fact impact on dream content . Remember that dream content are made up of memory and psychology (88-99%) and the rest is neurology (0-12%) and physical states (0-12%), the fact that the moon phase fits in the psychology section more than it ever will in the physical section.
Why? Well most of the effect that people cite is tides. The moon accounts for roughly 2/3rds of the tides with the rest coming from (mostly) the Sun and the rotation of the Earth, wind and so on. But the moon has this effect over a very large area of water. Although you are made of (mostly) water, the moons physical effect on you is no more significant gravitationally then the seat you are sitting at. We can basically dismiss any claims the moon has a physical effect on you.
So how do I show a psychological correlation in my stats?Firstly don’t use a Gregorian calendar. Instead in your sheet use a 365 day calendar with day 1 being when you started. The reason for this is the Gregorian calendar is confusing and only makes sense in for when you want to work out what season it is, not for when you want to do calculations.
Secondly measure as MANY of the other physical and psychological triggers as possible (the list above is a good start, but by no means comprehensive).
The moon orbits roughly 13.36 times a year and each orbit lasts 27.32 days with the Earth orbiting 365.25 days. The error here is significant, but you can decrease it by increasing the detail in each of these numbers.
The moon “phase” is generally what people tell me “relates” to dream psychology. The “full” phase is the main one and opinion differs on how long the moon is “full”, technically we want to be a scientific about this as possible so using local time data to calculate when the moon is “full” exactly and use your stats sheet to then calculable the date of the next full moon. It should be 27.32 days apart each time, so if its full on day 1, it should be full again on day 27, then again day 54, then again day 82 (not 81), 109, etc. Day 13 should be “new”, days in between waxing (before full) and waning (after full). You will need to correct for error the longer you keep the calculation going, the more accurate you keep it the better.
Once you have this and worked out how many times you have very similar conditions in all the other stats you keep (“filtering” options in modern spreadsheets make this far easier) you can then calculate a correlation.
So lets say you have say 12 waxing days similar and 12 waning days similar and 1 new and full moon that are similar. Clearly you need to keep on keeping stats for a correlation for full and new moons you will need at least 10 comparable days when all the other stats are similar to get data that makes sense.
For each day you have comparable physical stats you need to have dreams stats plus dream content stats. When you have these lined up you can compare how each of these days are similar.
Thus lets say you dream more on waxing days, say you have 2.32 dreams a night on these days and then show that most are “normal” or “fear” dreams. You then compare these to waning days where you have only 1.2 dreams a night, almost all “normal” dreams. There for on those days the moon phase affects you:
1.2 more dreams per every waxing period (11.6 days) then every waning period as long as conditions are the same or similar to those days when these dreams happened.
So now you can see how hard it is to get enough data to show this for a full or new moon, each of the full moons in the year will not have the same conditions, so to get 10 days of similar data you need probably at least 5 years of recording. I am certain you can do it, but it will take a lot of effort and even then the data is only relevant when conditions are similar. So really I am not sure what your aim is, other than showing to yourself that your dreams are psychologically impacted by the full moon, which is almost certainly a given anyway.