Sleep Hours are Decreasing Around the World due to Global Warming

As a result of climate change, nighttime temperatures are rising at a quicker rate than daylight temperatures, making sleeping impossible.

According to a study, the average citizen loses 44 hours of sleep every year, which equates to 11 nights of fewer than 7 hours of sleep on a standard basis.

As global warming worsens, sleep loss will become more common, hurting some groups more than others depending on gender and socioeconomic level. Sleep loss is about a quarter more in women than in males per degree of warming, twice as high in those over 65, and three times higher in those living in low-income countries.

The study’s approach required 47,000 subjects to wear sleep-tracking wristbands. The study took place over 7 million nights in 68 nations.

Rising temperatures are harmful to one’s health, increasing the likelihood of heart attacks, suicides, mental health crises, accidents, and injuries, as well as limiting one’s ability to work.

“Sleep is a very familiar part of our daily routine for most of us; we spend about a third of our life asleep,” said Kelton Minor, a leading author in the study from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. “However, an increasing number of individuals in various countries around the world are not getting enough sleep.”

“We give the first planetary-scale evidence that warmer-than-average temperatures undermine human sleep in this study,” he said. “Because our predictions are very likely conservative, it might be the tip of the iceberg.”

For a million people, a night with temperatures above 25 °C would result in 46,000 additional persons sleeping fewer hours.

“And if you look at the current heatwave in India and Pakistan, we’re talking about billions of people exposed to conditions that are predicted to cause significant sleep loss,” Minor added.

The research was published in the journal One Earth, and it included an analysis of sleep and weather data collected from 2015 to 2017.

Women have slower cooling rates than males because they have more subcutaneous fat. Furthermore, elderly people are known to sleep less and have poorer body temperature regulation, making falling asleep more challenging.

Furthermore, people in less wealthy countries have less access to cooling facilities and services, such as air conditioning, fans, and window shutters, which has an impact on their sleep. However, lower-income people were underrepresented compared to higher-income research participants.

“We’re quite open about how low-income people are underrepresented in the data,” Minor added. The study population did not include many people from hot regions like Africa and the Middle East.

The effects of global warming on sleep were observed in all of the study’s locations, independent of their natural temperatures.

“Worryingly, we also discovered evidence that persons who already live in warmer areas had more sleep erosion per degree of temperature change,” Minor added. “We thought those people would be better adapted.” Furthermore, according to the statistics, respondents did not make up for lost sleep at a later time.

The research was unable to assess sleep quality, such as the different phases of sleep, but there was no change in the number of times people woke in the night. 

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