We all know the main reasons why our sleep gets disturbed – stress, uncomfortable bed/mattress, insomnia, the kids, alcohol and even the weather can affect our sleeping schedule. But did you know that global warming will also play a part in our sleeping schedule? In fact, by 2050 we will lose around 30 minutes sleep a week, just due to global warming and our planet’s temperature rising.

As our summers become hotter and hotter every year, researchers have predicted that we will lose around 30 minutes of sleep over a week. Now we all know how hard it can be to sleep on a warm summer’s night in Britain at the moment – we are simply not equipped to deal with those kind of temperatures. So, you can only imagine how hard it will be sleep over Global Warmingthe next 30 years when these temperatures rise significantly.

A hot night means that many of us spend the night tossing and turning in our beds, throwing the duvet on and off ourselves as we desperately try to get ourselves comfortable in order to get our sleep. Yet with predictions by the Met Office suggesting our summer temperatures will rise by 2°C these uncomfortable summer nights are set to become even worse.

Of course, a rise of 2°C might not seem like much on paper, but it does actually make a significant difference to our lives – especially for the older generation. In fact, a recent study has found that every 1°C of temperature increase we feel, equates to roughly 15 minutes less sleep a week.

The US study, conducted by Dr Nick Obradovich, who formally worked at the University of California, found that although the average person was due to lose 30 minutes sleep a week, those who were over 65 would be set to lose a debilitating 42 minutes of sleep a week due to global warming.

This is due to the fact that in order for us to sleep at night, our body temperature needs to drop. This is caused by the dilation of blood vessels in our skin, which causes heat loss. However, when we experience warmer temperatures, our core body temperatures are warmer when we try to go to bed, and the signal that our body gives out for our blood vessels to dilate, does not occur.

This is particularly seen in middle-aged people – especially post-menopausal woman – as this group already have issues with body temperature control, so the increased temperature will only make them even more vulnerable to a poor night’s sleep. Which is incredibly worrying, as sufficient sleep is essential to help prevent disease, illness and obesity. It’s also fundamental in helping us remember and being able to function at our full potential.

The research team found that for the over-65s, a 1°C temperature rise would mean three times as much sleep loss. In fact, pensioners would lose an astonishing 17.5 days of sleep a month per 100 people.

It’s thought that if people can cut their emissions and be more energy efficient, that this temperature rise could actually be avoided. In the meantime, read our top tips on sleeping in the heat so you don’t miss out on any of your precious 6-8 hours of sleep a night. 

Image courtesy of pazham at FreeDigitalPhotos.net