‘Warmest day of the year’, ‘Britain to swelter in late spring sunshine’, ‘Temperatures to be well above average this weekend’. These are just some of the many headlines that have been hitting the press over recent months. According to the Met Office climate change will affect UK weather forecasts with hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. The weather service compared the climate in 1990 to 2070, projecting summers could be up to a staggering and disturbing seven degrees warmer.
While soaring temperatures could make alfresco dining and outdoor activities the new normal, they also usher in their share of lifestyle negatives when the sun goes down and it’s time to get some sleep. In a recent study by Kelton Minor, a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Social Data Science, it was found that climate change is altering the amount of sleep people get due to the fast warming of night-time temperatures brought on by human-induced climate change and urbanisation.
Sleep tracking wristbands were used by 48,000 people in 68 countries between 2015 and 2017. By pairing sleep data with local weather data, it was revealed that unusually hot nights were changing sleep patterns. From falling asleep later, rising earlier and sleeping less, Kelton’s work showed how it was more difficult for people to get their snooze in if their external environment is too hot.
waking up to sleep's importance
As we age, we require less amount of sleep. National Sleep Foundation Guidelines suggest that children should get between 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night. While for adults it’s recommended that 7 to 9 hours is sufficient.
According to Kelton's research, people are losing an average of 44 hours of sleep each year. It has been predicted that by 2100, the number of lost hours of sleep will jump to 58 hours if emissions go unchecked. In contrast if emissions are lowered, the figure drops to 50 hours. While some professors have applauded the study, others have pointed out that the estimations may not be so accurate, based on various factors, so the debates, like rising temperatures, still rage.
Regardless of where you stand with this study, there is no doubt that lack of sleep can lead to numerous risks to health. High blood pressure, weight gain, weakened immunity, memory issues and mood changes are just some of the health problems that are linked to poor sleep.
hot & bothered
Ongoing analysis led by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) revealed that the average global temperature on Earth has increased by at least 1.1 degree Celsius since 1990. Yale Climate Connections, an initiative of the Yale Centre for Environmental Communication (YCEC), found that the year 2022 is more than 99% likely to rank among the 10 warmest years on record, and about 28% like to rank in the top five.
Lack of sleep is just one of the results of global warming. Biodiversity and Ecosystems will be impacted, extreme weather events will become more common and sea levels will rise. Without even enduring a hot and bothered night’s sleep, just looking at the consequences is enough to induce eco anxiety, leading to a sleepless night.
It's not all doom and gloom though as we do have the capability to act on climate change and sustainability. The United Nations has issued guidance for individual action on climate change and sustainability. Their Act Now campaign aims to help towards a net-zero future. From using less energy at home, skipping long haul flights, and choosing more plant-based meals, the advice aims to show how everyone can help limit global warming and take care of our planet by making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment.
When it comes to addressing sleep problems, we are also not powerless. A resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School highlighted the importance of having a relaxed setting to sleep in. Attuning to factors in your sleep environment that put you at ease, and eliminating those that may cause stress or distraction, can allow you to set yourself up for the best possible sleep.
At Rory & Ruby we’re conscious of how important it is to have a peaceful sleep and prioritise sustainability, which is why we have created our Sweet Dreams Gift Box filled with organic goodies, including bath and body oil featuring calming organic essential oils, night time tea and a scented candle. Whether it’s to treat yourself or someone else, our luxury pamper not only boost relaxation, you’ll sleep well knowing you’ve helped the environment by choosing from an eco-friendly brand!