India is currently facing severe heatwave conditions with temperatures crossing the 40 degrees Celsius mark in several regions. Earlier this month, 12 people died from heatstroke and many others were admitted to hospital after an estimated one million people attended a government-organised award programme under the scorching sun, as reported by Livemint.
A recent study published in journal The Lancet revealed that the nation has witnessed a 55% increase due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021. Exposure to extreme heat can exacerbate underlying health conditions and worsen health. India is already facing challenges with air pollution, when rising temperatures is added to the mix, it can have significant effects on people’s health.
A recent study published in the journal Sleep Health revealed that air pollution, heat, high levels of carbon dioxide and ambient noise may adversely affect the ability to get a good night's sleep, as reported by PTI. The research is one of the first to measure multiple environmental variables in the bedroom and analyse their associations with sleep efficiency, which is defined as the time spent sleeping relative to the time available for sleep.
The study involved 62 participants from the National Institutes of Health Green Heart Project which examines the effects of planting 8,000 mature trees on the cardiovascular health of Louisville residents. After tracking the participants for two weeks using activity monitors and sleep logs, the findings showed that higher levels of air pollution, carbon dioxide, noise, and temperature in the bedroom were all linked independently to lower sleep efficiency, according to PTI.
"These findings highlight the importance of the bedroom environment for high-quality sleep," said study lead author Mathias Basner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, US.
Along with work and family commitments, a rapidly changing environment set off by increasing urbanisation and climate change has made it harder to sleep well, according to the study. Lack of proper sleep affects work productivity and quality of life. It has also been linked to a higher risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and dementia.
For each of the environmental variables measured, the research team from the University of Louisville, US, compared sleep efficiency during exposures to the highest 20 per cent of levels versus the lowest 20 per cent of levels, according to PTI.
The findings showed that high noise was associated with a 4.7% decline in sleep efficiency, high carbon dioxide with a 4% reduction, high temperature with a 3.4% decline, and high PM2.5 with a 3.2% reduction. However, relative humidity and barometric pressure seemed to not have any significant effect on sleep efficiency, according to the study.
"We seem to habituate subjectively to our bedroom environment, and feel there is no need to improve it, when in fact our sleep may be disturbed night after night as evidenced by the objective measures of sleep we used in our study," Basner added, according to PTI.