Climate Change Is Messing With Your Sleep

"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" Nick Obradovich who conducted much of the research as a doctora

According to their findings, if climate change is not addressed, temperatures in 2050 could cost people in the United States millions of additional nights of insufficient sleep per year.

The researchers found that a mere 1 degree Celsius increase in nighttime temperatures could translate to three nights of insufficient sleep per 100 individuals per month.

Sounds bad, right? The media thought so, and many ate the dramatic prediction up uncritically, with headlines declaring that climate change will turn you into an insomniac next.

The researchers worked out the cost to sleep patterns across the U.S. and said the findings could be applied to other temperate countries across the world.

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.

Not surprisingly, the research found the harmful effects of warmer-than- normal nights are more pronounced in the summer.

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.

This probably already strikes you as dubious, but for good measure here's why it is. Correlation does not imply causation, meaning just because, for example, increased cheese consumption seems to correlate with declining moose numbers, doesn't mean one causes the other. It could even mean nothing at all.

"Sleep has been well-established by other researchers as a critical component of human health", says lead author and political scientist Nick Obradovich, who was inspired to investigate the effect of climate change on sleep back in 2015 when he was still a PhD student at the University of California San Diego. He defended drawing that connection.

That said, this study isn't without its limitations. 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'". "We don't have sleep data from around the world, but assuming the pattern is similar, one can imagine that in places that are warmer or poorer or both, what we'd find could be even worse".

Scientists collected data from 765,000 people from the US.

Jerry Siegel, sleep researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Gizmodo that he "certainly believes there are effects of temperature on sleep". So given that human beings spend a third of their lives sleeping, what kind of an impact do warmer-than-usual nighttime temperatures have on sleep quality?

"There are so many logical leaps", concerning the study's future predictions, "it's a mental exercise that's not going to keep me awake at night", he said. It may come to account for several millions of nights of lost or poor rest each year.

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