Study suggests that hotter nights due to climate change will cost us sleep

B.R. Shenoy

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“Our results indicate that sleep — an essential restorative process integral for human health and productivity — may be degraded by warmer temperatures," Kelton Minor of the University of Copenhagen, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Anyone who has attempted to sleep on a hot summer night knows how difficult it is to fall asleep when the temperature is rising.

Climate change is causing nights to warm faster than days in some places. So, it is not surprising that global warming will cost people more and more sleep.

Per a new study published in the journal One Earth, there may be a link between hotter weather and poorer sleep in various parts of the world.

The new study by Danish researchers examined over 47,600 people from 68 countries who wore sleep-tracking wristbands between September 2015 and October 2017.

They matched data about when people went to sleep and woke up with weather information from the area.

People slept less on nights when the temperature was higher than usual, according to the researchers.

They predict that by the end of the century, we will have at least two weeks of interrupted sleep per year due to high temperatures.

The study also discovered that the temperature effect on sleep loss is significantly greater in lower-income countries, as well as in older adults and females.

Conclusion

Scientists have discovered that climate change intensifies and increases the likelihood of heat waves and other types of extreme weather. Climate scientists predict that this will worsen as humans continue to emit heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

Even if humanity successfully stabilizes greenhouse emissions by 2099, hot temperatures will still cause an extra 50 hours of sleep loss and 13 extra nights of short sleep each year, according to Minor.

Researchers predicted that if humans do not stop global warming by 2099, they will lose 58 hours of sleep per year.

"Since prior evidence suggests that short sleep is a risk factor for diminished cognitive functioning, degraded human performance, worsened mood, elevated anxiety, adverse neurological outcomes, compromised immune function, and cardiovascular mortality -- all of which have been separately shown to increase during spells of extreme heat -- our global study spotlights sleep as one of the plausible mechanisms by which climate change may impact human well-being and potentially widen global environmental inequalities," — Kelton Minor, the study’s lead author

What are your thoughts on the link between climate change and loss of sleep? Please share in the comments.

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