Global warming could mean less sleep for billions of people

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay reporter

Friday, May 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Anyone who has tried sleep On a hot summer night he knows how hard it is to shake his head when the mercury rises.

So it is not surprising that global warming is turning a blind eye to more and more people as temperatures around the world rise.

At the end of this century, individuals may have at least two weeks of short sleep each year due to high temperatures caused by global warming. The study was published in the journal May 20 One Country.

That’s even worse for some vulnerable groups, especially the elderly, says lead author Kelton Minor, who conducted the research as a doctoral student in planetary social-behavioral data science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

“Sleep deprivation by one degree of warming was twice as high in the elderly as in young or middle-aged adults, three times as low in people in low-income countries, and significantly higher in women than in men.” The minor said.

“Importantly, we have found some evidence that sensitivity to sleep temperature in late adulthood may increase between the ages of 60 and 70, and for people over the age of 70, the estimated rate of sleep loss increases by one degree of warming.” He said. .

Minor said the predictions were based on data from the first “planet-wide natural experience” of its kind, in which more than 47,600 people from 68 countries wore sleep-tracking wrists between September 2015 and October 2017.

Minor և and his colleagues then compared the 7.4 million sleep records they had collected with local weather data to see how heat affected each participant’s sleep.

“We found that the nights, which were accidentally warmer than average, disrupted people’s sleep patterns around the world,” Minor said. “We have calculated that people sleep less, ‘shorter nights’ are more likely to fall asleep as the nights get warmer.”

The data show that on very hot nights, 86 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, sleep decreased by an average of just over 14 minutes, and the likelihood of closing the eyes for less than և 7 hours increased as the temperature rose.

In particular, people tended to shake their heads later in hot weather and wake up earlier, say researchers.

They also found that people who were already living in warmer climates experienced more sleep erosion as the temperature rose, and that people did not adapt well to short-term sleep loss due to temperature, Minor said.

“Adults did not make up for lost sleep the following nights, did not compensate for the loss of night sleep with daytime rest, as if they did not adapt to the warmer temperatures of summer,” he said.

By calculating these numbers in two climate change scenarios, the researchers found that people would lose sleep when the planet warmed up, no matter what.

“If humanity successfully stabilizes greenhouse gas emissions by 2099, warm temperatures will still result in an average of 50 hours of extra sleep loss and 13 extra nights of sleep each year,” Minor said.

On the other hand, if humanity does not curb global warming by 2099, it will lead to 58 hours of sleep loss per year, scientists predict.

“As previous evidence suggests, short sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline, impaired performance, poor mood, high anxiety, adverse neurological effects, impaired immune function, and cardiovascular mortality, which alone have been shown to grow over time. Extreme heat times. “Our global study sheds light on sleep as one of the possible mechanisms by which climate change can affect human well-being and potentially widen global environmental inequalities.”

Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula, an associate professor of medicine and a physician in the Department of Sleep Medicine at Perelman Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, praised the new study.

It is an “extraordinary undertaking” that has “millions of data points from around the world,” he said.

“His findings are consistent with previous studies showing that sleep is affected by heat, that the rhythm of sleep-wake is related to core body temperature,” said Gurubhagavatula.

Other factors may also cause people to fall asleep as the temperature rises, he added.

“For example, in hot climates, workers with long working hours can raise their body temperature during the day, not have the means to cool down quickly to prepare for sleep,” said Gurubhagavatula.

He also mentioned other cultural, dietary, behavioral or social factors that can affect sleep in hot weather, including:

  • Added warmth from sharing the bed with others
  • The amount of sugar or carbohydrates in the diet
  • Late night food
  • Smoking: և: caffeine
  • Stress և Anxiety.

“Very often, from childhood to old age, we consider our sleep to be spontaneous; we try to spend less than we need,” says Gurubhagavatula. “We are not ‘getting used to’ chronic sleep deprivation. We accumulate sleep debts over time, which can affect our day-to-day activities, from chronic to mild to severe to severe.

“Simply put, people can not cheat biology,” he said.

“There are no shortcuts, there is no substitute for sleep. “Our bodies and brains need sleep just like oxygen, food and water,” he said. “Our biology requires us to find ways to make sleep a priority.”

“Air conditioning can help people adapt to rising temperatures, but the prevalence of AC in low-income countries is lower than in other parts of the world,” Minor said.

Gurubhagavatula agreed.

“The authors suggest that the availability of infrastructure, such as a stable electrical network, the presence of cooling devices such as air conditioners, may indeed be possible. “These resources are usually less available in low- and middle-income societies.” he said.

Gurubhagavatula offers some tips for better sleep on hot nights, including:

  • Keep your living room temperature cool.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, too close to sleep.
  • Do not eat or drink late, as this may increase the amount of time your body needs to cool down in preparation for sleep.
  • Stay well hydrated so that the body can cool down through sweat if necessary.
  • Talk to your doctor about health conditions that can cause sweating or hot flashes while sleeping, for example. Obstructive sleep apnea, Thyroid diseaseMenopause և: blood sugar fluctuations.

Additional information:

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has more information on healthy sleep habits.

SOURCES: Celton Minor, PhD, Former PhD, Planetary Social Behavioral Data Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Indira Gurubhagavatula, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Sleep Medicine, Perelman Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; One CountryMay 20, 2022

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