Insomniac? Climate change could make that worse

Bad sleep is just one of many threats posed by climate change. Unsplash  Dan Gold

Climbing nighttime temperatures, driven by climate change, may harm human sleep, a new study revealed, with the poor and elderly most affected. But just wait! A new study published recently in the journal Science Advances finds a somewhat clear link between higher nighttime temperatures and hours of lost sleep. Extrapolated to the entire USA population in the year 2099, "the figure could rise by several hundred million more nights of lost sleep annually", a press release issued on Friday proclaims.

If your body temperature is normal your night sleep would get better.

The study was led by Nick Obradovich, a doctoral student at the Harvard Kennedy School in MA, who was inspired by a heatwave in San Diego in October 2015, which kept him awake at night.

During October 2015, it was abnormally hot in San Diego.

He was having trouble sleeping. He tossed and he turned, the window air conditioner in his North Park home providing little relief from the record-breaking temperatures.

It's also the first to apply it to projected climate change. And he pointed out that in laboratory studies, warmer temperatures also produce lower quality sleep, although "we certainly can not be 100% sure that is the only 'mechanism of action'". Then he combined the effects with climate model projections.

According to the Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.

He and his colleagues at UC San Diego turned up some disturbing findings.

The study starts with data from 765,000 United States residents between 2002 and 2011 who responded to a public health survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers then linked these data to daily temperature data collected by the National Centers for Environmental Information.

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Findings from a huge study in the U.S. have shown that this could all be about to change though, and it's down to global warming.

Their research showed that a one-degree Celsius increase in nighttime temperature translated to three nights of insufficient sleep per 100 individuals per month.

The bad effect of warmer nights is most acute in summer - nearly three times worse than any other season.

The effect is also not spread evenly across all demographic groups.

It also revealed that those whose income is below 50,000 USA dollars and those who are aged 65 and older are affected most severely.

His calculations predict that the sleep impact of warmer temperatures will be worse in summer (.obviously), and that the sleep of older people and the less financially well-off will be harder hit by climate change.

A good dog who knows when it's time for a nap.

Using climate projections for 2050 and 2099 by NASA Earth Exchange, the study paints a bleak picture of the future. "I just don't think that has a lot of bearing on global warming issues".

Obradovich reached his conclusions by linking sleep data collected from three-quarters of a million United States adults over a 10-year period with temperature data, and combining it with climate model projections.

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