Home / Science / Nighttime temperature and human sleep loss in a changing climate – Science Advances

Nighttime temperature and human sleep loss in a changing climate – Science Advances

Science Advances 26 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1601555
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601555 Nick ObradovichBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

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Robyn MiglioriniDepartment of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.

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Sara C. MednickDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.

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James H. FowlerDepartments of Political Science and Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

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Abstract

Human sleep is highly regulated by temperature. Might climate change—through increases in nighttime heat—disrupt sleep in the future? We conduct the inaugural investigation of the relationship between climatic anomalies, reports of insufficient sleep, and projected climate change. Using data from 765,000 U.S. survey respondents from 2002 to 2011, coupled with nighttime temperature data, we show that increases in nighttime temperatures amplify self-reported nights of insufficient sleep. We observe the largest effects during the summer and among both lower-income and elderly respondents. We combine our historical estimates with climate model projections and detail the potential sleep impacts of future climatic changes. Our study represents the largest ever investigation of the relationship between sleep and ambient temperature and provides the first evidence that climate change may disrupt human sleep.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • climate change impacts
  • Sleep
  • environmental health
  • Copyright © 2017, The Authors

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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