Nick Obradovic couldn’t sleep again. And now it’s buzzing.
Obradovic lived with his wife in a condo with no air conditioning, which was unusual in the normally mild year-round climate. Many places don’t have air conditioning, especially in bare-bones places, including those that graduate students like him can live in at the time.
He tried to deal with the problem by putting a wet towel on his head while he was sleeping, but he was too cold. Covered with a blanket but very warm. It was like a corrupted version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” “But it wasn’t ‘correct,'” he said.
He struggled to sleep in a heat wave for a week. Lack of sleep makes him too tired to continue his daily activities. He and his fellow graduate students could not concentrate on their work.
“I was more clumsy. My friends were less clumsy. We all have a positive outlook,” says Obradovic, principal investigator at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, who was then studying for a doctorate in political science at the University of California, San Diego.
Maybe he’s upset about sleeping too little or having too many wet towels, but Obradovic decided to investigate whether heat-induced sleep deprivation is normal. He wanted to put this idea to bed, even if he couldn’t do it himself.
His findings weren’t ludicrous: People shut their eyes in the tropics, especially in the early hours of the night. Models predict that sound sleep will decrease further as temperatures rise, especially in low-income and elderly communities.
In it Research Looking at 47,000 adults in 68 countries, Obradovic and colleagues found significant changes in sleep duration as nighttime temperatures rose above 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius). On nights above 86 degrees, people sleep an average of 14 minutes.
In the long run, the loss is severe: people are estimated to be losing an average of 44 hours of sleep per year – and as temperatures continue to rise, people will struggle to get a good night’s rest.
Nights have warmed faster than daytime temperatures in many places around the world. In the year By 2100, people around the world could lose 50 to 58 hours of sleep per year.
“We are not fully adapted to the climate we live in now,” Obradovic said. “Hot air temperature affects the type of sleep on board, but this relationship increases significantly. It becomes more significant as the temperature increases.”
We often take sleep for granted, but not getting enough sleep can lead to many serious health problems, such as poor mental health, obesity, heart problems, or early death.
For example, Rebecca Robbins, a physician and lecturer at Harvard Medical School, says that our blood pressure is at its lowest during the day during sleep. But without that natural infusion, people are more likely to develop high blood pressure, which increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.
In the United States, we can see the effects of reduced sleep each year during daylight savings time, when most people set their clocks one hour ahead in the spring and may lose sleep that night. The next week, Robbins mentioned more events heart attack, Car collision And Injuries at work It skyrocketed.
“When we don’t meet these sleep health targets, a lot of things start to go wrong,” said Robbins, who was not involved in the study. “When it’s more than a night or two, this can become problematic very quickly, causing stress on our body, increasing the risk of negative outcomes and serious conditions.”
A comfortable bedroom temperature for people to sleep in is relatively cool – 63 to 69 degrees. It is a decrease in the temperature in our body. Important We fall and sleep because it resembles falling asleep. Our body primarily cools the core by sending heat to our extremities, which is why our hands and feet sometimes feel warm during sleep.
Obradovic and his colleagues found that abnormally warm temperatures had the greatest effect on people’s bedtimes by delaying the onset of sleep. Short sleep duration was worse in summer and among the elderly, probably because they have more difficulty in regulating their body temperature. The team also found that tropical regions had higher rates of sleep deprivation, suggesting that people’s bodies are not adapted to their geographic location.
Low-income countries are also severely affected, which Obradovic speculates may be due to the lack of air conditioning. But he plans to investigate further.
Projections show that global warming will have the greatest insomnia in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia. By the end of the 21st century, people living in tropical regions are expected to lose three more nights of sleep per year due to higher nighttime temperatures.
Although the increase in temperature has a negative effect on sleep, research shows that the story is not the same with cold temperatures. According to Kelton Miner, co-author of the sleep study with Obradovich, the body seems to be better at adjusting to cold than overheating.
“People seem to sleep better when it’s cooler outside[controlling for seasonal differences, etc.],” says Miner, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. “Our research suggests that humans may be better at adapting sleep to warmer temperatures.”
Jerome Siegel, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that sleeping for long periods of time is not healthy. He did not participate in the study. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention He says. The elderly should sleep seven to nine hours.
Overall, Siegel said the study’s findings were not surprising and consistent with previous work; This, he said, shows how temperature has long controlled sleep patterns. Hunter-gatherer societies In pre-industrial times.
He agreed that global warming would disturb people’s sleep, “but you can’t imagine they’re not going to do anything about it.”He said.
Obradovic said his team’s findings could help communities or policymakers improve people’s sleep environments, such as better cooling bedrooms.
On an individual level, Robbins said people should practice good sleep habits in general.
For example, reduce screen time to 15 to 20 minutes before bed because the blue light from cell phones or computers mimics the sun and throws off our circadian rhythms. Meditating before bed can help people calm down and relax, making it easier for people to fall asleep.
Another good practice, she said, is that it’s important to have a consistent bedtime, otherwise our bodies can get confused about when we should be awake or when we’re tired.
“There is still a belief that I will sleep when I die,” Robbins said. “There is much work to be done to improve our collective perception of sleep.He said.