Climate change could literally be causing sleepless nights, according to new research. Recent studies show that a temperature increase of approximately two degrees Fahrenheit could be linked to three poor nights of sleep per month. These could be affecting every 100 individuals in the overall population.
All Those Sleepless Nights Caused by Higher Nighttime Temperatures?
This latest research is the most comprehensive investigation of the overall link between human sleep and climate change. Its results are available in a paper in the journal Science Advances. The study analyzed the ways in which ambient temperature mediates the human sleep. It also looks at how this relationship may be affected by climate change and rising global temperatures.
The research employs data from over a half-million U.S. respondents. Based on this, it shows that rising temperatures are related to sleepless nights in civilian populations. The largest correlations between poor sleep and rising temperatures were found among low-income individuals and older Americans.
To arrive at these results, the researchers triangulated population data with local weather station records. They also included the global creep towards higher temperatures. Data revealed that seemingly minor increases in global temperatures resulted in rather significant sleep disturbances. This connection is very important, for a few very good reasons.
“What our study shows is not only that ambient temperature can play a role in disrupting sleep but also that climate change might make the situation worse by driving up rates of sleep loss,” says Nick Obradovich, the study lead.
Poor sleep has already been linked to a variety of immune system disturbances. It was also recently associated with an increased brain-cleaning process. Poor or lack of sleep is also linked to health conditions like obesity, memory, overall cognitive function, and heart disease, among others.
Although sleep is but one factor that affects the human health and overall well-being, the fact that global temperature changes are adversely affecting sleep is disturbing news indeed. More research on the matter is still needed.
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