How The Weather May Be Hindering Your Sleep

By Kristi Eckert | 1 month ago

weather shouldn't sleep with the light on

Climate change is rearing its ugly head more prominently than ever. Its effects are evident in every single corner of the earth. From bleached coral to dwindling harvests, to an insurmountable uptick in severe weather globally. Severe weather can have particularly devasting effects. This is observable in the aftermath of wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other types of record-breaking storms. However, scientists have recently identified a less-obvious but equally serious threat due to the increase in severe weather. NPR reported that intense bouts of hot weather have been linked to poor or worsening sleep.

The correlation was extrapolated from research acquired from smartwatch devices with sleep tracking capabilities. One Earth detailed the study that was conducted by scientists in Denmark. The scientists explained that they were able to cross-reference the sleep data that they had obtained with local weather reports and found a pattern between less or poor sleep and extreme heat. This concerning conclusion led the scientists to theorize that “Without further adaptation, and should greenhouse gas concentrations not be stabilized until the end of the century, each person could be subjected to an average of 2 weeks of temperature-attributed short sleep each year.”

The fact that scientists are finding a correlation between poor sleep and extreme heat is significant. This is because getting the proper amount of rest is absolutely essential in maintaining overall health and well-being. Those subjected to prolonged periods of less sleep are at greater risk for developing cardiovascular maladies amongst a whole host of other diseases and cognitive difficulties. With instances of extreme heat on the rise more people’s health is at risk of being adversely affected.

While an increase in hot weather may not cause immediate concern for those with access to air conditioning, consider the impact it could have on those without air conditioning. For instance, in June of 2021, the Northwestern quadrant of the United States was subjected to a historic heatwave. Residents in Washington and Oregon were subjected to intense 100-degree-plus temperatures that are unheard of in those states. Since large portions of those states, particularly along the coasts typically never exceed 70 or 80 degrees in the summer, many don’t find a need for air conditioning. Thus, when the unprecedented heatwave struck last year many suffered through it sans air conditioning. Should this happen in the same region this year consider how many people could be negatively affected, especially in an economy plagued by inflation where purchasing an air conditioner might be completely out of the question for some individuals.

Moreover, is that while extreme hot weather has the potential to adversely affect anyone’s sleep, vulnerable populations are most at risk. Older individuals and those with pulmonary or cardiovascular deficiencies are more likely to incur the most significant effects. However, the results from the study in Denmark should serve to give every individual pause. This is not only because sleep is an essential component of maintaining optimal health, but because of the larger picture. The larger picture being that climate change is beginning to affect the human populace on a biological level. That warrants a very real cause for concern.