In July 2023, Death Valley, California, recorded an unprecedented high temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit at midnight, highlighting the alarming trend of increasing heat extremes worldwide.
Climate change, according to experts, is responsible for such erratic conditions, including extreme heat waves.
Typically, nighttime temperatures provide relief from daytime heat, but a 2022 report from Climate Central revealed that average nighttime temperatures in the United States have risen by 2.5 degrees since 1970. This rise in nighttime heat has significant health implications, particularly for those lacking air conditioning, as heat stress accumulates during the day and can lead to heat-related illnesses and inadequate sleep.
Research from 2022 discovered that rising temperatures can hinder sleep patterns, especially in lower-income countries, among older adults, and females. By the end of the 21st century, excessive heat could result in people losing between 50 and 58 hours of sleep annually.
Additionally, excessive nighttime heat may increase heat-related deaths by 50%, with a potential 30% increase in such nights by the century’s end. Climate change continues to drive these alarming trends, promising more frequent and severe heatwaves and little respite from nighttime heat.
To mitigate the impact of nighttime heat on sleep, strategies such as cooling mattresses, appropriate bedding, and setting air conditioning to a cooler temperature are recommended.
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