NASA just released new information stating that for the second consecutive month the global rise in temperature has reached a “shocking” level. Not only did 2016 have the hottest February in recorded history, but it was the hottest February in recorded history by the largest ever margin.
But, more importantly, all that extra heat has one big side-effect: making your body think it has a hangover.
*Before we get started, it’s worth taking a moment to understand the graph above. It shows the change in temperature (in Celsius) of the given years as compared to a base period between 1951 and 1980. I’m not entirely sure why NASA chose that specific base period, which I’m sure will fuel climate change deniers, but what you should take away is the rise in the graph, and particularly the spike at the end for 2015 and 2016.
Normally I don’t comment on individual months (too much weather, not enough climate), but last month was special.https://t.co/nALWMlNDcP
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) March 12, 2016
Starting from the beginning: a study published in 2014 in an online supplement of the journal “Sleep” found that sleep problems have about the same impact on grade point average (GPA) as binge drinking and marijuana use. Your body actually needs some low-temperature nights to ensure a proper night’s sleep, according to Christopher Gordon, a research scientist in thermal biology and sleep at the University of Sydney in Australia.
“For us to fall asleep, what needs to happen is a thermal or body temperature cascade has to occur,” he told Jenna Price at The Sydney Morning Herald. “[Y]ou need to get rid of heat from the body… the maximal rate of core temperate decline gives you the greatest opportunity to get to sleep.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation the relatively low temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) is the absolute best for a good night’s sleep; it’s the optimal coolness your body needs to lose a lot of the heat it’s accumulated during the day.
Therefore, cooler nights equals restful sleep, equals your body not feeling hungover.
Unfortunately, the causes of this shitty feeling that lead to fluid retention, puffy skin, headaches, a lack of concentration, poor memory and increased blood pressure, can also seriously affect your health and metabolism.
“Healthy men who spent a month sleeping in a cool (but not cold) 66-degree room (18 degrees Celsius) increased their stores of metabolically active brown fat,” says Francesco Celi, chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s division of endocrinology and metabolism. “‘Brown fat’ may not sound very desirable, but it actually helps your body burn calories and dispose of excess blood sugar,” he explains.
You may be thinking, “WTF, good sir?! I live in a moderate climate where we have many hot nights, but it’s not nearly bad enough to warrant central cooling! What am I to do?!”
Senior research fellow at the Australian Centre for Sleep Research, Siobhan Banks, told Price at The Sydney Morning Herald that a simple two-fan solution—one for each bed occupant—can work well. Further, a cold shower before bed can help your body lose some of that heat it’s accumulated throughout the day.
The morale of the story? Protecting our future against the rise in global temperatures, no matter the cause, is of immediate concern and should cause a call to action. Unless, that is, you just really want to enter the realm of “super-hangovers.”