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Global Sleep Crisis: Rising Temperatures Taking a Toll on Our Sleep

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: June 16, 2023
6 min read

Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Rising Temperature And Sleep

India’s scorching summer heat waves have gained global attention as a visible sign of the escalating global warming crisis. However, it is not just the sweltering days that demand concern; our nights are also growing warmer. The combination of scorching days and increasingly hotter nights is not only impacting our overall health and well-being but also wreaking havoc on our precious sleep.

As temperatures continue to rise across the globe, a concerning trend is emerging, impacting our sleep patterns and overall well-being.

Sleep, an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, is being significantly affected by the effects of global warming. With a particular focus on India, where scorching temperatures are currently prevalent, this article explores the profound consequences of rising temperatures on sleep and sheds light on the magnitude of this issue.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is experiencing unprecedented warming, primarily due to human-induced climate change. The rise in temperatures directly impacts sleep quality and duration, resulting in a range of health implications including insomnia, sleep fragmentation, decreased sleep efficiency, reduced REM sleep, increased risk of sleep disorders, and impaired physical and mental health.

In India, a country already familiar with sweltering summers, the impact of rising temperatures on sleep is amplified. The recent heatwave conditions, combined with inadequate access to cooling infrastructure in many regions, have exacerbated the sleep crisis in the country.

According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, the number of heatwave days in India has increased by 200% over the past five decades. This alarming rise in temperature poses a significant threat to individuals’ sleep patterns and overall health.

Rising Teperature

Source : Climate Summary (March 2023) – Government of India

Sleep disturbances resulting from high temperatures can also lead to increased restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, and frequent awakenings during the night. The consequences of poor sleep extend beyond mere discomfort. Sleep deprivation caused by rising temperatures has been linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular problems, metabolic disorders, weakened immune function, and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Recognising the magnitude of this issue is crucial for the well-being of individuals and communities. It is essential to develop strategies to mitigate the impact of rising temperatures on sleep and promote effective adaptation measures. By understanding the connection between climate change and sleep disruption, we can work towards creating cooler sleeping environments, implementing sustainable practices, and raising awareness about the importance of quality sleep in combating the adverse effects of global warming.

In the following sections of this article, we will delve deeper into the science behind the link between temperature and sleep, explore the regional impact of rising temperatures on sleep in India, learn about heat-related sleep disorders, and discuss coping strategies and adaptation measures to alleviate the sleep crisis caused by soaring temperatures.

The link between temperature and sleep is a crucial factor in understanding the impact of rising temperatures on our sleep patterns. As we prepare for sleep, our body’s core temperature naturally decreases, aiding in the relaxation and facilitating a smooth transition into a restful slumber. However, external temperatures can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, extreme temperatures can have a profound impact on sleep quality. High temperatures hinder the body’s natural cooling process, preventing us from reaching the optimal sleep temperature range. This interference can result in increased restlessness, tossing and turning, and a higher likelihood of waking up during the night.

Furthermore, a study published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews revealed that even minor deviations in temperature can significantly affect sleep duration and efficiency. For every 1°C increase in bedroom temperature, there was a corresponding reduction of approximately 10 minutes in total sleep time.

The implications of temperature disruption on sleep extend beyond mere discomfort. The National Institutes of Health reported that inadequate sleep resulting from temperature disturbances can lead to daytime sleepiness, impaired cognitive function, and decreased productivity. Additionally, another study highlights that individuals exposed to extreme temperatures during sleep are more likely to experience fragmented sleep and increased wakefulness.

By creating optimal sleeping environments, regulating bedroom temperatures, and implementing practical strategies to mitigate the impact of external heat, we can enhance sleep quality and promote overall well-being.

The Regional Impact of Rising Temperatures on Sleep in India

The impact of rising temperatures on sleep is particularly pronounced in India, a country grappling with intense heat waves and a dense population. The regional consequences of soaring temperatures are a significant concern, significantly affecting the sleep patterns and overall well-being of individuals across the country.

According to the Indian Institute of Public Health, rising temperatures have led to a surge in sleep-related complaints in urban areas of India. The study revealed that cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai have experienced a substantial increase in insomnia and sleep disturbances cases in recent years. This rise can be attributed, in large part, to the scorching temperatures that make it challenging to attain restful sleep.

This alarming rise in extreme heat events directly impacts sleep quality, as high temperatures make it harder for individuals to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. The combination of intense heat waves and inadequate access to cooling infrastructure in many regions amplifies the sleep crisis in India.


Source : DownToEarth

The impact of heat in various regions of India is significant, with specific areas experiencing intensified consequences. Some notable regions affected by the heat include:

  1. North India: The northern parts of India, including states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Punjab, often face scorching temperatures during the summer months. These regions witness heatwaves, which can have severe implications for sleep quality and overall well-being.
  2. Coastal Regions: Coastal areas such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata also endure high temperatures, coupled with high humidity levels. The combination of heat and humidity can make it extremely challenging to find relief and maintain comfortable sleeping conditions.
  3. Central India: States like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat in central India experience prolonged periods of intense heat. The heatwaves in these regions can lead to significant disruptions in sleep patterns, making it harder for individuals to find restful sleep.
  4. Northern Plains: The states in the northern plains, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, often face extreme temperatures during summer. These regions are known for their hot and dry climate, exacerbating the impact of rising temperatures on sleep quality and overall health.
  5. Southern India: Even in the southern parts of India, which generally experience a more moderate climate, cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai witness rising temperatures. The increasing heat in these regions can pose challenges to maintaining a comfortable sleep environment.

The regional impact of rising temperatures on sleep in India calls for urgent action and awareness. Effective measures, such as improving access to cooling solutions, promoting energy-efficient practices, and implementing heat mitigation strategies in urban planning, are crucial in mitigating the adverse effects on sleep.

Additionally, educating individuals about the importance of maintaining cool sleeping environments and adopting sleep hygiene practices can help combat the sleep crisis caused by soaring temperatures in different regions of India.

The combination of rising temperatures and disrupted sleep patterns has led to an increase in heat-related sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome, which are exacerbated by heat. Research shows that a 1°C increase in nighttime temperature leads to a 4% rise in insomnia symptoms. Heat and humidity worsen sleep apnea symptoms, resulting in daytime sleepiness and decreased sleep quality.

Restless leg syndrome is also aggravated by hot temperatures, with higher temperatures correlating to increased symptom severity. The prevalence of these disorders is a growing concern, especially in regions like India with extreme temperatures.

Coping Strategies and Adaptation

To mitigate the effects of increasing temperatures on sleep, it is crucial to adopt effective coping strategies and implement support systems. By raising awareness and implementing practical solutions, individuals and communities can alleviate adverse effects and promote better sleep quality. Creating a cool sleeping environment plays a key role in coping with rising temperatures.

Utilizing fans or air conditioners helps regulate room temperature, facilitating optimal sleep conditions.

Opting for breathable sleepwear made of natural fabrics, like cotton, promotes ventilation and prevents overheating, enhancing comfort and sleep quality.

Alongside personal measures, addressing climate change and advocating sustainable practices are imperative for long-term adaptation.

According to the IPCC, reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources can contribute to mitigating the effects of global warming and minimising the impact on sleep patterns.


Through collective efforts, we can work towards minimising the adverse effects of rising temperatures on sleep and ensure a healthier and more restful future for all.


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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Bachelor's in English Literature and Health Sciences Previously wrote blog articles for various Doctors for their websites Familiarity with various content management systems and SEO best practices

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