Climate change will lead to loss of sleep for millions

June 3, 2017

Climate change will lead to loss of sleep for millions

A new study published in Science Advances attempts to find a correlation between raising global temperatures and human sleep patterns. Utilizing CDC data, researchers found that for every night time temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius, 100 people per month would suffer from three nights of restless sleep. Over a year, this number ballooned to 110 million extra nights of restless sleep.

Sleep is a crucial function for humans, one that allows us to recover and be productive for the day ahead. Given that our sleep is highly regulated by temperature, a rise in overall night temperature can diminish the ability to have a quality night’s sleep.

Air conditioners can solve that, right?

While air conditioners are great when it’s hot, they require energy. And if more people use air conditioners, then more energy is required. Increasing energy demand requires greater energy supply, and depending on how your local utility generates power, that may come from fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and warm our planet.

More importantly, not everyone can afford or access an air conditioner unit in their household. Researchers found that families with incomes less than $50,000 would be disproportionately affected by the temperature increase. Additionally, the elderly, who are susceptible to heat stress, could be at high risk.

Climate change is not just an abstract topic, it is affecting us today on a very real basis. Think about it next time you find yourself tossing and turning during a hot evening, or, if you’re privileged enough, turning up the AC before bed.

To learn more, read here.


Gregory Lopez
Director, Climate Program

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