Anomalous increases in nighttime temperature by one degree Celsius translate to three nights of insufficient sleep per 100 individuals per month
Using climate projections for 2050 and 2099 by NASA Earth Exchange, researchers paint a bleak picture of the future if the relationship between warmer nights and disrupted sleep persists.
Warmer temperatures could cause six additional nights of insufficient sleep per 100 individuals by 2050 and approximately 14 extra nights per 100 by 2099, said researchers from University of California – San Diego (UCSD) in the US. They found that anomalous increases in nighttime temperature by one degree Celsius translate to three nights of insufficient sleep per 100 individuals per month.
If we had a single month of nightly temperatures averaging one degree Celsius higher than normal, that is equivalent to 9 million more nights of insufficient sleep in a month across the population of the US today, or 110 million extra nights of insufficient sleep annually, researchers said. “Too little sleep can make a person more susceptible to disease and chronic illness, and it can harm psychological well-being and cognitive functioning,” said Nick Obradovich from UCSD.
“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,” Obradovich said. Researchers analysed data from about 765,000 US residents. They linked data on self-reported nights of insufficient sleep to daily temperature data.
They then combined the effects of unusually warm temperatures on sleep with climate model projections. Researchers found that the negative effects of warmer nights is most acute in summer. It is almost three times as high in summer as during any other season. The effect is also not spread evenly across all demographic groups. Those whose income is below USD 50,000 and those who are aged 65 and older are affected most severely, researchers said.
For older people, the effect is twice that of younger adults. And for the lower-income group, it is three times worse than for people who are better off financially, they said. The study was published in the journal Science Advances.