It’s finally summer! Which means fun, sun, and nights of melting into your sheets.
Long nights of trying to find the cool side of your pillow might be more common in the future.
A paper published on March 25, 2017, in the journal Science Advances found that climate change, in addition to affecting just about every other facet of life, might keep us up at night too.
The researchers found two things: 1. Yes, it sucks to sleep in hot weather, and 2. We better get used to it.
As we lie down for the night, our internal body temperatures fall. This is a natural part of falling asleep. If it’s too warm out, our bodies struggle to cool down, which can make sleep harder.
The researchers compared self-reported CDC data from 765,000 U.S. residents with weather data and climate models. They found that raising the temperature one degree Celsius would disrupt 110 million nights of sleep each year in the United States.
Mapped out, the effect would hit hardest in the western and northern United States, especially around Wyoming, Minnesota, and northern New York.
Luckily, there are things you can do to get better sleep, both today and in the future.
If you’re already sweating, there are ways to stay cool at night. The air conditioner is an obvious choice but can suck up energy. For low-tech options, buckwheat pillows can stay cooler at night. There are chill-able pillows and mattress pads as well (or you can make your own: fill a bottle with ice water or throw a sock filled with rice in the freezer for 30 minutes). You could also ditch the big fabric mattress for a hammock.
Of course, in the long-term, the more we limit climate change, the less we’ll have to deal with this. Luckily, there are a ton of ways to both fight climate change and protect the environment.