Excessively hot nights caused by climate change are predicted to increase the mortality rate around the world by up to 60% by the end of the century, according to a new international study that features research from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Ambient heat during the night may interrupt the normal physiology of sleep. Less sleep can then lead to immune system damage and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic illnesses, inflammation and mental health conditions. Results show that the average intensity of hot night events will nearly double by 2090, from 20.4℃ (68.7℉) to 39.7℃ (103.5℉) across 28 cities from east Asia, increasing the burden of disease due to excessive heat that disrupts normal sleeping patterns.

This is the first study to estimate the impact of hotter nights on climate change-related mortality risk. The findings show that the burden of mortality could be significantly higher than estimated by average daily temperature increase, suggesting that warming from climate change could have a troubling impact, even under restrictions from the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The risks of increasing temperature at night were frequently neglected”, said study co-author Yuqiang Zhang, PhD, a climate scientist in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the Gillings School.

Read the full article about climate change and warmer temperatures at Environmental News Network.