Rising Temperatures May Reduce Sleep Quality
Lack of sleep can lead to poor physical and mental outcomes. For example, insufficient sleep is linked to worsened cognitive performance, low productivity, impaired immune system function, depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.
Although it is already established that higher indoor temperatures may impair sleep quality, there is little evidence on how outdoor temperatures affect sleep duration. Therefore, a new study examined the impact of rising temperatures on sleep quality using wristband devices designed to track sleeping patterns.
The research team assessed 10 billion sleep records, gathered from each continent except Antarctica. They closely investigated the sleep timing and duration data provided by the devices. The results showed that higher nighttime temperatures lead to people sleeping less than usual. In addition, it was discovered that the more the temperatures rise, the stronger the effects.
Rising temperatures have a more pronounced impact on some demographics, for instance, older people and women. Moreover, the effect was three times greater on residents of the developing countries. But, in general, the findings suggest that people find it difficult to sleep in warmer temperatures, which means those who live in cooler areas usually sleep better.
In line with earlier research, lack of sleep can cloud one’s judgment and ability to operate machinery. Furthermore, long-term effects of sleep loss are linked to conditions like obesity, hypertension, and anxiety. Therefore, good sleep quality is essential for one’s health.
As sleep deprivation can cause severe health problems, the need to prevent this condition is constantly on the rise, particularly for certain vulnerable groups like children, older people, and those who suffer from mental disorders. For that reason, the authors of the study call for further research on this particular topic.
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