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One of the Most Underrated Victims of Climate Change Could Be Your Sleep


Photo: W+G Creative

hen you envision the effects of climate change , you might picture things like melting glaciers, raging wildfires, or rising sea levels—environmental impacts that are diminishing the resources we need to survive and thrive on Earth. While these events are certainly a threat to our health long-term, recent research has found that warming temperatures pose a direct health risk, too, contributing to a rise in cases of cardiovascular and respiratory disease , food and waterborne diseases , and mental-health issues , among other conditions . As of late, however, scientists have identified an even more immediate victim of climate change: our ability to get sufficient sleep.

A large-scale study published in May in the journal One Earth analyzed billions of sleep measurements (from existing sleep-tracker data sets spanning more than 47,000 people in 68 countries) in tandem with local daily meteorological data and found that warmer-than-normal nights significantly reduced how much sleep people clocked.

To be clear, this finding was tied to ambient (aka outdoor) temperatures and not temperatures within peoples’ homes—which is to say that the effect was still significant in folks with access to air conditioning and the like. Though the researchers didn’t analyze why people categorically […]

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