A doctoral student at the University of Copenhagen, Kelton Minor, wondered if rising temperatures caused a sleep deficit. So he and his team conducted the most extensive study on the relationship between ambient temperature and sleep. The research, published in the journal One Earth, is a significant step toward understanding the effects of climate change on sleep, and these findings could lead to new ways to improve sleep quality.
Climate change may decrease the number of hours of sleep we get every night. By 2050, most people living in the US will experience an average of six additional nights of insufficient sleep a year due to a warming climate. The effects will be more severe for older adults and women.
Despite these effects, climate change will not affect everyone equally. Those in low-income countries are already suffering more than other populations. These people are older and less affluent, which may explain why they’re experiencing more sleep loss. Researchers don’t know precisely why people in lower-income countries are more likely to be affected by climate change. However, reduced access to cooling technology may be to blame.
The rise in global temperatures is already detrimental to sleep patterns. Researchers estimate that people will lose 50-58 hours of sleep per person by the end of this century. This decrease in sleep is especially likely to affect those in low-income countries, older adults, and women. There’s a significant link between rising temperatures and reduced sleep, and the research findings show that the two are connected.
While the effects of climate change on our sleep are not entirely understood, researchers have outlined a conceptual framework to help them make better predictions of how climate change will affect the amount of sleep we get each night. This framework identifies the threats and effects of climate change and the sleep cycle, highlighting the need for more research on the issue.