Rising temperatures caused by the climate crisis are affecting the sleep of people around the world, according to the largest study to date. The data show that people sleep harder, especially women and the elderly, which has serious health effects.
A good night’s sleep is essential for health and well-being. But global warming raises nighttime temperatures even faster than daytime temperatures, making it much harder for people to fall asleep.
The analysis showed that an average global citizen already loses 44 hours of sleep a year, leading to 11 nights with less than seven hours of sleep, a standard benchmark for sufficient sleep, according to The Guardian.
Lost sleep will increase even more as the planet continues to warm, but it affects some groups much more than others. Loss of sleep per degree of warming is about a quarter higher for women than for men, twice as high for those over the age of 65 and three times as high for those in less rich countries.
The researchers used data from sleep tracking bracelets used by 47,000 people over 7 million nights in 68 countries.
Previous studies have shown that rising temperatures are detrimental to health, including an increase in heart attacks, suicides and mental health crises, as well as accidents and injuries, as well as reduced work capacity.
Poor sleep has also been shown to have these effects, and the researchers said their study suggests that disturbed sleep may be a key mechanism by which heat causes these health effects. Worryingly, according to the researchers, their data showed no sign that people are able to adapt to warmer nights.
The study, published in the journal One Earth, looked at sleep and outdoor weather data collected between 2015 and 2017 and found that higher temperatures reduced sleep by delaying its onset. People’s bodies need to cool down every night when they fall asleep, but this is harder when it is warmer.
Women can be affected more, as their bodies usually cool down more heavily than men when they go to bed. Also, women have a higher level of subcutaneous fat on average, which makes cooling slower. Older people are known to sleep less at night and have poorer body temperature regulation, which may explain their susceptibility. People in poorer countries may lose more sleep because they have less access to coolers, such as window shutters, fans, and air conditioning.
Researchers have found that the impact of warmer nights on sleep has been observed in all countries, regardless of whether they have a colder or warmer natural climate, and the impact is clear when nighttime temperatures exceed 10 degrees Celsius.
The data used in the study come mainly from richer countries, although some from India, China, Colombia and South Africa were included. Bracelets also tended to be worn by people less prone to sleep disturbances by higher temperatures, such as richer middle-aged men.
Source: Cotidianul RO by www.cotidianul.ro.
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