Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 - Page 38

Medical News

Can ’ t sleep well ? Climate change may be to blame

Poor sleep patterns can contribute to serious health problems

The destructive effects of global warming on human health are notorious — heat waves , severe droughts , and lost crops are just a few . You can now add to this grim list insufficient sleep . According to a recent study , many people struggle to get enough sleep due to warmer climates around the world , increasing the risk of developing physical and mental problems .

People tend to fall asleep later , rise earlier , and sleep less during hot nights , making it more likely they sleep fewer than seven hours a day , the sufficient�sleep benchmark for most adults , the researchers wrote in the journal One Earth . This disruption is higher for the elderly , females , and those living in low-income countries , further widening e�isting inequities .
��n this study , we provide the first planetary-scale evidence that warmer than average temperatures erode human sleep ,” said Kelton Minor , a PhD student at the Copenhagen Center for Social �ata Science and leader author , according to the Guardian . ��t might actually be the tip of the iceberg , because it ’ s very likely our estimates are conservative .”
Lack of adequate sleep has been associated with reduced cognitive performance , compromised immune function , and negative cardiovascular outcomes , as well as depression , anger , and suicidal behaviour .
The analysis is based on a large dataset of a billion sleep observations recorded through sleep�tracking wristbands linked to a smartphone application and collected from 68 countries between 2015 and 2017 . To unearth the relationship between sleep time and temperatures , the researchers paired the data with climate information and concluded that warmer temperatures were cutting down sleep time by an average of �� hours per person every year . And with the planet e�pected to get even warmer , the researchers estimate that sleep loss could increase up to 50-58 hours per year by 2099 .
�ody temperature normally drops when we fall asleep , so an e�cessively hot environment can disrupt this process . �esearchers at �linders �niversity , for instance , found that different types of insomnia were associated with elevated body temperatures .
Minor told the Guardian the negative effects of global warming on sleep patterns were poised to affect large chunks of the global population . �And if you look at the heatwave that ’ s transpiring right now in �ndia and �akistan , we ’ re talking about billions of individuals e�posed to conditions e�pected to result in considerable sleep loss ,” he said .
To tackle the challenge , the authors recommend heat-resilient planning , environmental design , and social interventions that equitably protect vulnerable populations , especially in urban centres that tend to record higher temperatures than rural areas . “ Our decisions , collectively as societies , will have costs in terms of sleep ,” Minor told the Guardian .
36 JULY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com