A new study published in the journal One Earth found that the warming of the planet affects how much sleep we can get in a night. This has a bigger impact on people that are vulnerable to heat, like older people and those living in low-income areas and countries without access to air conditioning or fans.
When we sleep, our bodies release heat to maintain our temperature. It’s much harder for our bodies to do this when the surrounding area is extremely hot.
The researchers in Denmark analyzed 7 million anonymous sleep records that were collected from more than 47,000 adults across 68 countries using sleep tracking wristbands. They examined how many hours of sleep the users got at night, their location, and the climate. They found that adults fall asleep later, rise earlier, and sleep less when temperatures were 86 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
“Our results indicate that sleep—an essential restorative process integral for human health and productivity—may be degraded by warmer temperatures,” said study author Kelton Minor. “In order to make informed climate policy decisions moving forward, we need to better account for the full spectrum of plausible future climate impacts extending from today’s societal greenhouse gas emissions choices.”
Researchers suggest that by the year 2099, suboptimal temperatures could take off 50 to 58 hours of sleep per person per year.
This study is just another piece of evidence that shows how climate change is affecting nearly every part of our world as we know it. If the global temperature continues to rise, it will have a devastating impact on public health.
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